After floods, drought threat looms large over Bihar

After floods, drought threat looms large over Bihar

After floods, drought threat looms large over Bihar

 It’s a double whammy for Bihar. While 11 districts face the threat of floods due to a surge in the Ganga, the remaining 27 districts, out of 38, are on the verge of being declared drought-hit.

The data procured from the Met department shows that Bihar has witnessed abysmally low rainfall this monsoon. Against a normal average rainfall of 803 mm, Bihar has received only 635.9 mm rainfall since June. As many as 166 block spread over 27 district are facing drought.

The Bihar government has asked its agriculture and Met departments to prepare a ground report about the 27 drought-hit districts so that a memorandum could be submitted to the Centre seeking financial aid. “We have sought a report about the 166 drought-hit blocks spread over 27 districts. After receiving the report, we will submit a memorandum to the Centre,” said Anirudh Kumar, joint secretary, Disaster Management Department.

Strangely enough, a large area of Patna district, which faced flood threat till last week, is also affected by drought in the western and southern zones. This anomaly could be gauged from the fact that Lok Sabha MP from Patliputra, Ram Kripal Yadav, who also happens to be Union Minister of State for Rural Development, has written to Nitish Kumar on how the people of his constituency have been facing drought despite the Sone river overflowing.

“Sone is overflowing, but water is not reaching the canal. In my constituency, farmers from Bikram, Maner, Paliganj, Dulhin Bazar, Naubatpur and Bihta are facing drought,” stated Kripal’s letter, a copy of which was also marked to Bihar Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar Singh. Kripal has given a 48-hour ultimatum to the Nitish Kumar regime to arrange water, failing which he would sit on a hunger strike.

The state officials averred that deficiency in rainfall in the districts range from 40% to 66%. Sheohar tops the chart with 66% rain deficit, followed by Saharsa, Munger, East Champaran, Sitamarhi and Patna. 

Agriculture officials said the paddy that has been cultivated so far had started wilting under the dry spell. “We hoped for good rainfall after August 15. But despite the Met department’s prediction, there is scanty rainfall in several districts,” said an official, adding that Bihar was earlier declared drought-hit in 2013.

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