The eastern state of Bihar is faced with a drought-like situation this year despite a prediction of normal monsoon by the weather department. Farmers in several parts of the start are unable to sow their crops due to massive shortage of rainfall. Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh are main states of paddy crop but farmers are suffering this monsoon due to poor rainfall. Farmers in most of the districts say that there is no adequate water available to cultivate the soil to raise crops.
“We are unable to sow crops. This is for the first time that we have witnessed such situation. There is no water and we don’t have any option. Government is not helping us,” a farmer in Muzaffarpur said.
The state government has taken cognisance of the situation with CM Nitish Kumar announcing the transfer of diesel subsidy directly into the bank accounts of the affected farmers. Kumar has also convened a meeting of concerned officials on July 31 to again discuss the prevailing drought-like situation.
Bihar is divided into 38 districts and 9 divisions with almost 75% of its population depending on farming activities to earn their livelihoods. According to the IMD, only 5 of the 38 districts have received normal rainfall till date this year. The remaining districts have not received adequate rain, severely hitting the kharif crops.
At least 17 districts have ‘large deficit’ rain. The districts include Arwan, Jehanabad, Kaimur, Bhojpur, Buxar, Munger, Nawada, Patna, Sheikhpura Aurangabad in south and Gopalganj, Khagaria, Muzaffarour, Saharsha, Saran, Siwan and Vaishali in north.
During the previous meet last week, CM Kumar had reviewed the situation and directed the agriculture department to discuss the situation with farmers and apprise them about alternatives, if needed. This Monday, addressing an event in Patna after launching a scheme for online transfer of diesel subsidy, Kumar asked the government officials to provide maximum possible assistance to the farmers.
He said that the government is very serious about the situation of the farmers. “I have asked officials that there shall be no dearth of funds to meet the challenges of disaster because I strongly believe that disaster victims have the first right over the state government treasury.”
Meanwhile, the power department has informed the government that electricity was being made available to farmers in rural areas for 20-22 hours to help them run their water pumps.
Monsoon arrives in the state by June 10, but this year it was delayed almost by two weeks. Though there is no scarcity of water in most of the rivers including the Ganga, farmers are dependent on the monsoon rains to sow their crops.