Central team visits drought-hit Bihar

    By IANS,

    Patna : A central team Monday began a visit of drought-hit Bihar to assess the situation, an official said.

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    Bihar in September declared 33 of its 38 districts drought-hit on account of poor rains. The state was 25 percent deficit in its annual rainfall.

    “The 12 member-team held a meeting with top officials of the state administration including Chief Secretary A.K. Sinha soon after they arrived in Patna on a two-day visit to Bihar,” said an official of the state disaster management department.

    “The team will split into three groups and visit nine worst drought-hit districts to assess the situation, including the quantum of crops lost, and submit a report to the union government.”

    “One group will visit Jamui, Sheikhpura and Lakhisarai districts, the second group will visit Nawada, Gaya and Aurangabad and the third group will visit Muzaffarpur, Madhubani and Darbhanga,” the official added.

    On the basis of the team’s report, the central government would provide relief from different ministries to millions of drought-hit farmers, the official said.

    The drought has affected hundreds of thousands of people, particularly farmers, and forced the poorest of the poor to migrate for earning a livelihood.

    Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has sought Rs.12,000 crore relief from the central government to deal with the situation. He also met and requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram for help.