Patna: Taking into account deficient rainfall this year, Bihar government Wednesday declared 33 out of the 38 districts of state as drought-hit.
The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
Principal Secretary (Cabinet Coordination and Secretariat) Brajesh Mehrotra and the Principal Secretary (Disaster Management Department) Vyasji said the decision was taken because of deficient rainfall in these districts at 20 per cent below normal during the monsoon season.
Overall, the state has received deficient rainfall by 25 per cent at 668.6 mm as against annual average at 892.2 mm, they said and rued that the monsoon lasted only 15 days in Bihar as against the normal 45-46 days.
Due to erratic and deficient rainfall, the underground water table has declined leading to a drought situation, the officials said, adding that the prevailing drought would have adverse bearing on agriculture production, animal husbandry and employment generation for the people.
The plantation of paddy has been particularly affected by scanty rainfall this season.
On measures to tackle the drought, the officials said the state government would provide assistance to farmers under the state disaster response corpus and the central disaster response corpus with immediate effect.
The collection of land rent and cess, irrigation charge, electricity bills and cooperative loans from the farmers in 2013-14 would be deferred, they said, adding that measures would also be taken to save standing crops, star farming of alternative crops, creating employment for rural people and to take care of the cattle.
The situation in the remaining five districts of Arwal, Banka, Rohtas, Kishanganj and Araria was being monitored and the state government would decide appropriately if the standing crops start to dry up.
Altogether 20 districts of Bihar were hit by floods recently in which more than 200 people had died and about seven million others displaced.