New Delhi: Sowing of kharif crops in Bihar has shown a marginal increase despite rainfall deficiency in the state.

Plantation of rice, sugarcane and coarse cereals in the state as on August 8 has been more than the normal level of 2 lakh hectare for the period.

While the area under rice has increased by 0.8 lakh hectare that of sugarcane and coarse  cereals have risen by 0.7 lakh hectare and 0.5 lakh hectare respectively, according to official figures presented in Parliament last week by Minister of State for Agriculture Harish Rawat.

Rain deficit has been estimated at between 20 and 32 per cent in Bihar this year, with 28 districts having been badly hit due to shortage of rainfall.
Mangala Rai, Agriculture Advisor to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, told that efficient and timely handling of the situation by the state government prevented severe damage to agriculture.
Rai, who headed nation's premier agri research body ICAR in the past, said to avert the crisis due to rainfall deficiency, the state government took remedial measures like providing subsidised diesel and 5-8 hours of uninterrupted electricity to rural areas.

About 80 per cent of the transformers were changed to maintain smooth supply of power in the summers, he said.

Rai said the State agriculture department decided to provide diesel subsidy of Rs 20 a litre to boost irrigation of kharif crops due to uneven distribution of rains in some districts.


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