Drought prospect in Bihar: Nitish



Patna: Expressing fear over inadequate rainfall, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday said the prospect of drought loomed in several districts of the state.

''There is a fear of a drought-like situation in several parts of the state as 179 of its total 534 blocks have received less than 250 mm rainfall this monsoon,'' he said in a statement in the legislative council.

There has been 33 per cent less rainfall than normal in Bihar since June this year, hitting cultivation of paddy and maize, Kumar said adding the state had received normal rainfall last year which helped farmers to harvest rich kharif crop.

Factors like delay in arrival of monsoon, its de-activation for a long period in June/July, less rainfall in July and increase in prices of fodder pointed to a likelihood of a drought-like situation in the state this year, he said.

These were coupled with depletion in ground water, decline in crop cultivation area and less plantation of paddy saplings in the state, he said.

Bhagalpur, Munger, Patna districts besides those in Magadh division were among the 14 badly affected by the monsoon rain shortfall this year, Kumar said.

Paddy was cultivated in less than 60 per cent area devoted to it in 13 districts while maize cultivation area was less than 60 per cent, he said.

In all, paddy and maize cultivation was done in 65 and 78 per cent land respectively, he said adding farmland where the kharif crops stood were in bad shape due to inadequate monsoon.

The crop output would depend on steady rainfall on a regular basis, Kumar added.

PTI