Patna: Concerned over the drought-like situation in Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday directed Water Resources Department (WRD) to ensure irrigation water to the last end of canals in Bihar to prevent standing crops from dying due to absence of water.

Presiding over a high-level review meeting on drought and flood situation in Bihar, Kumar asked the WRD to also ensure that adequate water reach farmlands in drought-affected areas for plantation of paddy seedlings.

He asked the agriculture department to provide assistance under contingency crop plan in the districts where cultivation of kharif crops has been less due to inadequate rainfall. Assistance under diesel subsidy should also be expeditiously provided to farmers in districts where there was less rainfall to enable them to irrigate their farms.

Seeds should be distributed for cultivation of contingency or additional crops.

Agriculture scientists, he said, should be rushed to the drought-affected districts to give inputs to the farmers about alternative crops under the contingency crop plan.

The chief minister asked the electricity department and Bihar State Elecricity Board to ensure power supply upto eight hours for irrigation and public handpumps and transformers should be repaired at warfooting.

Kumar directed the chief secretary to review the drought situation and asked the development commissioner to conduct an intensified review of steps taken by the state government to save crops with district magistrates and concerned departments via video conferencing.

He was informed by Development Commissioner A K Sinha during the meeting that there has been 24 percent less rainfall in the state this monsoon with 18 districts registering 30 percent less rainfall than average. A total 12 districts received 40 percent less rainfall to create a drought-like situation.


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