Drought looms large over Bihar

After the unprecedented devastating flood which affected more than 30 lakh people in Saharsa, Supaul, Madhepura, Araria, Purnia and Katihar districts last year, the spectre of drought now looms large over majority of the 38 districts in Bihar.

With the monsoon failing to meet its date, the Nitish Kumar regime has now chalked out a contingency plan to fight drought. As a first step in this direction, the Bihar State Electricity Board (BSEB) has been directed to provide eight hours of power supply to rural areas so that the farmers can irrigate their land. Authorities have been asked to make the tubewells functional and repair the non-functioning transformers at the earliest.

The government, which had earlier announced to give Rs 15 as diesel subsidy, has now decided to extend it further if it fails to rain in the coming days. Besides, a Crisis Management Group (CMG), headed by the Chief Secretary and comprising all the departmental heads, has been formed, which will meet everyday to review the situation and apprise the Chief Minister of the impending crisis.

“The State should have got an average rainfall of 317.5 mm, but it has received only 121.8 mm so far,” said State Met director Animesh Chand, and added that a moderate drought-like situation is already prevailing here. With 62 per cent rainfall deficit being recorded so far, the Bihar government has increased its contingency fund from Rs 350 crore to Rs 1500 crore to tide over the crisis. However, the situation is worse in those areas where Kosi flood had wrecked havoc last year.

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