Bihar is heading towards a drought with government officers at block level keeping close watch on the situation, specially uneven distribution of rain, said principal secretary, disaster management department (DMD), Vyas Ji here on Friday.
Delivering a keynote address on, ‘Overview of monsoon, flood and drought scenario of the state’ organised by DMD and supported by various NGOs, he asserted, drought has overtaken flood as an impending threat to Bihar. The crisis management group of the state government, which meets every three days, has been focusing its attention on drought,” he added. Vyas Ji said, “During my official tours to rural areas this year, I missed the usual sight of waterlogged agriculture fields on either side of the roads.
Paddy and maize coverage has generally been poor in the kharif season, specially in Munger, Bhagalpur, Jehanabad and Jamui districts”, he claimed. Due to water scarcity farmers in large parts of Bihar have opted for maize instead of their normal choice of paddy, he said, adding, “Farmers’ reluctance to take advantage of the diesel subsidy is also causing concern.” Although the state government has earmarked more than R 600 crore as diesel subsidy, farmers have so far utilized the facility only to the tune of R12-13 crore, he stated.
The principal secretary, DMD, was perturbed by farmers’ stinginess about utilizing diesel subsidy, as food production in 2012 kharif might further decline with monsoon playing truant, threatening 60% of the rainfed area under cultivation as assured irrigation is available to only 40% cropped area. Vyas Ji urged social activists to spread awareness among farmers about diesel subsidy. “Since the Centre’s directive on drought indicators do not match the prevailing situation in Bihar, as far as fodder scarcity, depletion of groundwater, two-week long monsoon break and increase in food prices are concerned, the state government has decided to adopt a ‘wait and watch’ policy with a directive to concerned departments to monitor the situation closely”, he said.