Patna: All is not well with the agriculture scenario in the state as the rainfall this monsoon season is deficient to the extent of 17%. While the state should have received 376.8mm rainfall by now, it has got only 323mm. Though the state IMD had earlier predicted a normal monsoon in Bihar and Jharkhand despite the El Nino effect, the picture is not so rosy.
According to sources in the India Meteorological Department office in Patna, 22 out of 38 districts of Bihar are facing a drought-like situation due to poor rainfall. “In these districts, rainfall deficit is from 21 to 72% till Friday,” R K Giri, an IMD official said. However, CM Jitan Ram Manjhi on Thursday said the government is ready to tackle any drought-like situation in the state.
As per IMD statistics, Buxar is the worst hit with 72% rain shortfall, followed by Saharsa with 70% shortfall, Kaimur 57%, Rohtas 53%, and Sheohar 47%. Districts like Vaishali, West Champaran, East Champaran, Sitamarhi, Purnia, Madhepura, Jehanabad, Gopalganj, Arwal and Katihar are all experiencing over 30% deficient rain. Districts like Patna and Muzaffarpur are also short of 23% and 27% rain, respectively.
Meanwhile, Bhagalpur, Begusarai, Darbhanga, Jamui, Khagaria and Kishanganj have got surplus rain. Against the normal rainfall in July that is 333.3mm, Patna has got only 232.4mm (-109.9mm). “When the rainfall deficiency reaches 30%, it is almost a drought-like situation,” said scientist R K Giri here on Friday.
“Currently, there is no drought-like situation but the farmers are apprehensive in the 22 districts where there is shortfall of rain. But the state government is ready with contingency plan and we have already announced diesel subsidy,” said disaster management department principal secretary Vyasji.
“Fear of another drought is giving sleepless nights to the farmers in Purnia and Araria and if the two districts do not receive rainfall till the end of this week, sowing of kharif crops will be hit,” said Awadhesh Singh and his co-villager Mahesh of Araria. Farmers in Arwal and Jehanabad districts too are apprehensive as both the districts are 39% and 34% rain deficient.
“Though the state government has announced diesel subsidy, most of our paddy seedlings have started withering due to acute shortage of rain and the canals having dried up,” said a farmer, Satyendra Singh, of Bhojpur district.
The situation is grim in Buxar, Bhojpur, Saharsa etc and the farmers there are keeping their fingers crossed, praying for some good rain this month. Though these districts experienced some rain on Thursday, both the agriculture and horticulture prospects have been hit. However, the department has geared up to meet the situation, said deputy director, agriculture, Ashok Prasad here on Friday. “Till date, there is no drought-like situation and the agriculture department is monitoring the situation closely,” said Prasad.