The Bihar government today declared 28 out of 38 districts in the state as drought-hit following deficient rainfall.
The cabinet presided over by Chief minister Nitish Kumar took a decision to this effect after making an intensive review of the situation in the state on reports received from district magistrates and other sources.
The Chief Minister told PTI that he would seek an appointment with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and seek a special package for Bihar under the National Calamity Contingency Fund (NCCF) guidelines.
The state is facing drought for the second consecutive year. Last year 26 out of 38 districts were declared drought affected following deficient rains.
Briefing newsmen after the cabinet meeting, Principal Secretary Cabinet and Coordination Department Afzal Amanullah and Principal Secretary Disaster Management Vyasji said on the basis of reports received by District Magistrates 28 districts recorded scant rainfall and had been declared drought hit.
These drought-hit districts are - Gaya, Jehanabad, Aurangabad, Arwal, Nalanda, Nawada, Patna, Bhojpur,Buxar, Rohtas, Kaimur, Munger, Sheikhpura, Akhisarai, Jamui, Begusarai, Bhagalpur, Banka, Siwan, Saran, Muzaffarpur, Sitamarhi, Sheohar, Vaishali, East Champran, Madhubani, Samastipur and Darbhanga.
The two secretaries said the government would take a decision about declaring the entire state drought-hit after a thorough review of the situation in the remaining ten districts which had received rainfall.
Bihar between June 1 and 31 July, 2010 received 392.8 mm of rain against the normal rainfall of 508.5 mm during the period which was 23 per cent less than normal.
The deficient rainfall also caused the level of underground water going down following which several government pumping machines had become idle.
Amanullah and Vyasji said that to deal with the drought in the declared districts provisions of Clamity relief Fund (CRF), State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) National Calamity Contingency Fund (NCCF) National Disaster Response Force(NDRF) would come into force with immediate effect.
The two officials said that collection of taxes pertaining to irrigation, cooperative loans, electricity bills would remain suspended during financial year 2010-11.
Amanullah said the state government would also initiate special measures to save paddy and would take steps to create additional employment and provide fodder for the cattleheads in the affected districts.