28 of 38 Bihar districts facing drought

Patna, As many as 28 of the 38 districts in Bihar are facing a drought-like situation because of a 28 percent rainfall deficit, officials said Wednesday.

"The state government is likely to declare 28 districts drought-hit either at the end of this week or early next week," Vayasji, principal secretary of the state disaster management department, said.

Poor rainfall has affected paddy sowing and plantation, triggering fears of another drought.

Last year, the state government declared 33 of the 38 districts drought-hit due to a rainfall shortage of nearly 25 percent.

A.K. Sen, an official of the meteorological department in Patna, said there is little hope of good rainfall in the next two weeks. "In the past 10 days, scanty rainfall has affected agriculture and the situation is likely to worsen in the coming days. Drought is a reality in Bihar," he said.

Nearly two-thirds of Bihar's population of 10.5 crore, who earn their livelihood from agriculture and agricultural activities, are dependent on rain.

"We are depending on God's mercy for rainfall. We are losing hope as paddy plantations are dying due to lack of adequate water," Sambhu Singh, a farmer of Janipur village near Patna, said.

Farmers also complain of lack of 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 waiting for water in the canal for over two weeks but none is available," Fazlu Rahman Khan of Raghunathpur village in Aurangabad district said.

The monsoon usually hits the state between June 14 and 18.

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