Bihar to be declared drought-hit if rains less than avg: Min

The Bihar government today said it would declare the state "drought hit" if it receives less than average rainfall in the next two to three days.

"If the state receives less than average rainfall in next two-three days, then the state government will not be lagging behind in declaring the state drought hit.

"The CM has convened a meeting of the crisis management group on July 31 to assess the situation and if need arises, the CM would declare the state a drought hit the same day," Agriculture Minister Prem Kumar said.

The minister was speaking at a two-hour special debate in the state Assembly on a possible drought-like situation in Bihar.

Enumerating the steps taken by the state government, he said it has increased diesel subsidy to Rs 50 a litre from last year's Rs 35 per litre for farmers, and slashed power tariff rate from 96 to 75 paisa per unit in rural areas.

Bihar has earmarked Rs 60 crore for diesel subsidy and Rs 15 crore for alternative crops, Kumar said.

Not satisfied with the state government's reply, the RJD, the Congress and CPI(ML) members, who had pressed for the special debate, first trooped into the Well and raised slogans before walking out from the House.

Countering Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Prasad Yadav's charge that only 10,000 farmers have been registered for availing benefits of various schemes, Kumar said that 3,23,676 farmers have been registered online.

He also refuted the allegation that sharecroppers will not be given diesel subsidy, saying that both ryot and non- ryot farmers would get benefits of the subsidy for which the government has received 20,082 online applications.

Disaster Management Minister Dinesh Chandra Yadav referred to the guidelines of the Centre for declaring a state as drought hit -- if the state receives less than 50 per cent of average rainfall between June and August, and the sowing of kharif crops is less than 50 per cent by August 31.

Earlier, initiating the special debate, Yadav demanded that Bihar should be declared "drought-hit", given the grim scenario prevailing in the state with 53 per cent deficient rainfall.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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