Scanty rains spark drought fears in Bihar

Patna, June 29 (IANS) Scanty monsoon rains across have triggered fears that Bihar may be headed for another drought.

Monsoon normally hits the state between June 12 and 14. While the rains have begun, they have been scanty.

This has had farmers in Bihar worrying.

‘A weak monsoon has affected paddy sowing. Till date, only 40 percent paddy seedlings have been reported,’ an official of the state agriculture department told IANS.

Official sources said that paddy seedlings were badly hit in the 26 districts declared drought-hit by the state government last year following poor rains.

According to the meteorological office, Bihar has received 52 mm of rainfall against its requirement of 105 mm, a deficit of over 50 percent.

To make matters worse, farmers are complaining that there is no water in the canals for irrigation. A large part of central Bihar is irrigated by water from the Sone river and regulated through canals.

‘We are praying for heavy rains. Only divine blessings will help us to get rid of this situation,’ said Phaguni Mahto, a farmer in Gaya district.

It has been two weeks since he planted paddy seedlings. ‘I fail to understand what to do if drought hits us again.’

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