Bihar declares 28 of 38 districts drought-hit

The Bihar government today declared 28 out of 38 districts in the state as drought-hit following deficient rainfall.

Patna: The Bihar government today declared
28 out of 38 districts in the state as drought-hit following
deficient rainfall.

The cabinet presided over by Chief minister Nitish
Kumar took a decision to this effect after making an intensive
review of the situation in the state on reports received from
district magistrates and other sources.

The Chief Minister said that he would seek an
appointment with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and seek a
special package for Bihar under the National Calamity
Contingency Fund (NCCF) guidelines.

The state is facing drought for the second consecutive
year. Last year 26 out of 38 districts were declared drought
affected following deficient rains.

Briefing newsmen after the cabinet meeting, Principal
Secretary Cabinet and Coordination Department Afzal Amanullah
and Principal Secretary Disaster Management Vyasji said on the
basis of reports received by District Magistrates 28 districts
recorded scant rainfall and had been declared drought hit.

These drought-hit districts are - Gaya, Jehanabad,
Aurangabad, Arwal, Nalanda, Nawada, Patna, Bhojpur,Buxar,
Rohtas, Kaimur, Munger, Sheikhpura, Akhisarai, Jamui,
Begusarai, Bhagalpur, Banka, Siwan, Saran, Muzaffarpur,
Sitamarhi, Sheohar, Vaishali, East Champran, Madhubani,
Samastipur and Darbhanga.

The two secretaries said the government would take a
decision about declaring the entire state drought-hit after a
thorough review of the situation in the remaining ten
districts which had received rainfall.

Bihar between June 1 and 31 July, 2010 received 392.8
mm of rain against the normal rainfall of 508.5 mm during the
period which was 23 per cent less than normal.

The deficient rainfall also caused the level of
underground water going down following which several
government pumping machines had become idle.

Amanullah and Vyasji said that to deal with the
drought in the declared districts provisions of Clamity relief
Fund (CRF), State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) National
Calamity Contingency Fund (NCCF) National Disaster Response
Force(NDRF) would come into force with immediate effect.

The two officials said that collection of taxes
pertaining to irrigation, cooperative loans, electricity bills
would remain suspended during financial year 2010-11.

Amanullah said the state government would also
initiate special measures to save paddy and would take steps
to create additional employment and provide fodder for the
cattleheads in the affected districts.