Good rainfall allays fear of drought in Bihar

August 10th, 2011 - 2:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, Aug 10 (IANS) After two consecutive years of drought, thousands of farmers in Bihar are happy. Heavy rains have ended the fear of another drought year.

As Bihar recorded a near normal monsoon, unlike the last two years, farmers are busy transplanting paddy seedlings across the state.

“It is a good monsoon this time. We are hopeful of bumper paddy crops,” said Chandeshwar Prasad Mahto, a farmer of Adhpa village near Patna.

Another farmer, Suresh Yadav of Jahanabad district, said: “We are no more worried. Heavy rains have brought hope for us.”

Yadav is among the estimated 70 million people, two-thirds of Bihar’s population of 105 million, who are dependent on agriculture for a living.

Agriculture department officials said nearly 70 percent of transplantation of paddy seedlings has been completed till date.

The government targeted paddy cultivation on 35.5 lakh hectares. “So far transplantation has been reported from 23.31 lakh hectares,” agriculture department official A.C. Jain told IANS.

Jain said transplantation of paddy seedlings would be completed in three-four days.

Last year, only a fourth of transplantation of paddy seedlings was completed in the first half of August due to scanty rainfall.

Bihar has received 580 mm rainfall against its normal average of 585 mm till date, according to the meteorological office. “It recorded a deficit of one percent,” an official said.

Widespread rains or thundershowers has been predicted in the days ahead.

Farmers are happy as there is adequate water in the canals for irrigation. “We are lucky canals are not dry. It will help us in irrigation,” farmer Sahdeo Singh of Aurangabad district said.

Last year, the Bihar government declared all the 38 districts drought-hit due to a rainfall deficit of nearly 22 percent.

Inadequate rains had severely hit paddy sowing and transplantation in most districts, barring Araria and East and West Champaran.

In 2009, the government declared 26 districts drought-hit.

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