The Bihar government is likely to declare more districts of the state as drought-hit as over 30 percent rainfall deficit has severely affected paddy crop, an official said on Saturday.
As many as 28 districts of Bihar were declared drought-hit about 10 days ago following scanty rainfall so far this year.
"The government is seriously considering declaring more districts drought-hit. It is under process. The final decision would be taken at the cabinet meeting in a day or two,” Vayasji, the principal secretary of the disaster management department, said.
The districts likely to be declared drought-hit are Katihar, Purnea, Kishanganj, Khagaria, West Champaran and Araria.
The district magistrates of these districts have already sent their reports on the drought situation to the state government. "The government will hold a video-conferencing with district magistrates of four districts on drought situation Saturday,” Vayasji said.
An official in the Chief Minister's Office said the state government is set to take the decision after the central team visited the drought-hit areas and described the situation "grave and alarming".
The central team visited over a dozen drought-hit districts of the state in the past three days. The team also met Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and senior government officials.
"The drought situation is alarming and a matter of serious concern," a member of the central team told IANS here after visiting Gaya, one of the 28 districts declared drought-affected.
According to sources, the officials visited villages, interacted with farmers and held discussion with district officials, including district magistrates, to assess the drought situation.
Last week, Nitish Kumar handed over a memorandum to the central government in New Delhi seeking financial help of Rs.5,062 crore to tackle the drought.
The drought has affected hundreds of thousands of people for a second consecutive year.
Low rainfall so far has hit paddy sowing and transplantation in Gaya, Aurangabad, Jehanabad, Arwal, Nawada, Patna, Rohtas, Kaimur and Nalanda districts.
Over a dozen districts in Magadh and Patna divisions are worst hit. Last year, the government declared 26 districts drought-hit.