The meteorological department in Patna on Wednesday predicted widespread rainfall in Bihar in the next 48 hours. Thousands of drought-stricken farmers will get succour if the prediction proves correct.
The weather report comes two days after 26 of Bihar's 38 districts were declared drought-hit in view of the scanty rainfall so far that has hit paddy seedling transplantation.
"Bihar is likely to receive widespread rainfall," said India Meteorological Department's Patna office director Animesh Chanda.
He said widespread rainfall was expected following an upper air cyclonic circulation over north-west Bay of Bengal, the adjoining Gangetic region and northern coastal Orissa.
As a result, a low pressure area is likely to form over the region with widespread rainfall in the state, Chanda said.
"The rains will come as a boon for us," said Bujhan Mahto, a farmer from Nau, near Patna. "The paddy we had transplanted had started wilting, it will survive now."
Added Ramnarayan Singh, a farmer from Janipur near Patna: "This is a gift from nature."
Bihar has recorded a 42 per cent rainfall deficit so far this monsoon season, hitting the transplanting of paddy seedlings.
"Between June 1 and August 6, the state had received just 331.7 mm of rainfall against the average of 568.5 mm. This is a deficiency of 42 per cent, and has resulted in 58 per cent decline in paddy transplantation," said an agriculture department official.
Bihar had targeted sowing of paddy over 8.77 million acres this year, but the crop could only be planted over 3.83 million acres so far.