A central team of experts from the Agriculture Ministry, sent by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is assessing the drought situation in 28 rain deficient districts in Bihar.
The team made an on-the-spot study in Vaishali, Begusarai, Sitamarhi and other districts and took the stock of damages caused to farmers and discussed relief measures with district officials, state Agriculture Minister Renu Kumari said.
Magadh and Patna divisions were the worst affected by drought as the water table had declined to precariously low levels, she said, adding the water table in north Bihar was slightly better.
State Agriculture Director B Rajendra and other officials were accompanying the central team, which arrived on Tuesday.
The visit follows submission of a memorandum by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to the prime minister on Sunday demanding financial assistance of Rs. 5,000 crore to tackle the crisis.
The team has been informed of 50 per cent of Kharif (paddy) loss due to scanty rainfall, official sources said.
The Chief minister has already announced diesel subsidy for paddy and maize irrigation.
According to Met officials, the overall rainfall deficit has risen to 31 per cent from 23 per cent on July 31.
The most rain-deficient districts as per the IMD, were Arwal (-65 pc), Sitamarhi (-64 pc), Khagaria (-58 pc), Vaishali (-57 pc), Samastipur (-51 pc), Sheohar (-50 pc), Rohtas (-39 pc), Gaya (-33 pc) and Jehanabad (-30 pc ).