Drought fear haunts Bihar, again

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Patna, July 22 (IANS) The fear of drought looms large over Bihar once again as it has received 48 per cent deficit rain this monsoon so far but the state is ready to tackle the situation, a state official said on Sunday.

“A drought-like situation is in the making in the state due to deficit rainfall. The state government is (however) ready to face it,” Chief Secretary Deepak Kumar told the media here after a high level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar reviewed the situation.

He said that another review meeting will be held on July 31.

Contrary to the India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecast of a near normal monsoon in 2018 in Bihar, the state has so far witnessed poor monsoon.

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Of Bihar’s 37 districts, 22 have received 60 per cent less rainfall. Only six districts have recorded normal rainfall.

There is widespread fear of drought-like situation among millions of farmers who have faced similar situation thrice in the last seven years. Poor monsoon has affected sowing of paddy, which is in its peak season.

Monsoon normally hits the state between June 12 and 14. But it was delayed by 12 to 14 days in 2018.

“The Chief Minister is keeping a close watch on the situation. He will review the situation on July 31 and is likely to take a decision whether to announce a drought or not,” the Chief Secretary said.

The official said that Public Health and Engineering Department has been directed to arrange 500 water tankers to deal with drought-like condition, adding that the state is fully alert to the situation and to deal with it.

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According to him, farmers will be provided 18 to 20 hours of power supply for irrigation.

–IANS

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