Patna, Bihar Agriculture Minister Sudhakar Singh has sought a comprehensive report on the drought-like situation impacting paddy cultivation in the state, discarding the data sent to him earlier calling it “contradictory”.
Speaking to PTI, Singh said that in certain areas, paddy fields have developed huge cracks because of rainfall deficit, but as per the report sent to him earlier, transplantation of paddy seedlings is complete in 86 per cent of the total target till August 25.
“When the state is facing a drought-like situation, data compiled by my department and the rainfall reports give a contradictory picture,” he said.
Paddy cultivation in Bihar is dependent on rain and transplantation was delayed because of rain deficiency of around 41 per cent this year, Singh said.
“According to data from my department, transplantation of paddy seedlings is 103 per cent in Gopalganj, whereas there is a 50 per cent deficit of rainfall in the district between June and August,” he said, noting that the two sets of data contradict each other.
“I will order strict action against the officials concerned if I find any irregularities in compiling data,” he added.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is worried about the drought-like situation in the state and is visiting affected areas almost every day, Singh said.
“Still, our department officials are least bothered about it,” he claimed, stating this approach “babus” needs to be changed.
According to the IMD, Sheikhpura, Lakhisarai and Bhagalpur districts are facing a rainfall deficit of at least 60 per cent, while 31 districts are facing a scarcity of at least 20 per cent.
“Bhagalpur is facing the maximum rainfall deficit at 63 per cent, and the report sent by my department is saying that 42 per cent transplantation of paddy seedlings is complete in the district. It’s very surprising,” the minister said.
“Similarly, only 16 per cent transplantation could be done in Jamui where the rainfall deficit is 44 per cent. I don’t know how that happened,” he said.
Singh said that in certain districts farmers have transplanted paddy seedlings using groundwater and costly diesel pumps.
“I also know that with a long dry spell, farmers are struggling to save paddy in several districts in the state,” he said.
The officers who prepared the report refused to comment on the minister’s statement. PTI