206 blocks in 23 Bihar districts declared drought-affected
The Bihar government on Monday declared 206 blocks in 23 of the 38 districts of the state as drought-affected following reports of deficient rainfall and drying of crops.
A decision to this effect was taken at a high-level meeting, chaired by chief minister Nitish Kumar, after submission of reports by agriculture, animal husbandry and fishery, energy and water resource departments.
Of the 206 blocks declared drought-affected, 24 are in Gaya district, 14 in flood-prone Madhubani, 12 each in Vaishali and Samastipur, 11 in Nalanda, 10 in Jamui and eight in Patna districts.
“The decision to declare 206 blocks drought-affected was taken on three parameters – the present condition of land, drying of crops and less than 33% of average production,” said principal secretary, disaster management department, Pratyaya Amrit.
“The state will provide assistance to these blocks from its own resources to deal with the situation,” he added.
Following the decision, collection of all cooperative loans from farmers, land revenue tax, cess, irrigation charge and electricity charge will be postponed in the drought notified districts.
According to IMD data, the monsoon season ended with the country recording a 9% deficit in rainfall. The highest rainfall deficiency was recorded in Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
The IMD data shows Bihar recorded 20%, West Bengal 19%, and Jharkhand 24% deficient rainfall. In Bihar, of the 38 districts, 24 witnessed rain deficient monsoon. As per data, Araria district recorded 21% rain deficiency, Arwal 30%, Begusarai 26%, Bhojpur 33%, Darbhanga 28%, Jehanabad 33%, Jamui 31, Katihar 34%, Khagria 36%, Muzaffarpur 41%, Patna 27% and East Champaran 32%.
Scanty rains has caused big damage to the paddy crop with the state’s agricultural department getting feedback from the ground that the production this year would be around 64 lakh metric tonnes as against 79 lakh metric tonnes last year.
Going by that figure, the shortfall in paddy production this season is likely to around 15 lakh metric tonnes. This is seen as a big setback for the state where farming is the main livelihood.