New Delhi, Sept. 20: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today assured Bihar that a central team would be sent to assess the drought and flood situation and its impact on the state’s economy.
Sources said Manmohan told chief minister Nitish Kumar during a meeting that a team of experts would be sent to the state by the agriculture ministry in October. Thereafter, a decision on granting Rs 12,000 crore as relief fund would be taken, said sources.
After the meeting, Nitish said its outcome was “positive”. “I briefed the Prime Minister over issues bogging the state’s economy and he assured me of all possible help. We will now wait for the team to carry out a detailed assessment of the situation,” he told reporters.
Claiming that the state’s agrarian economy had totally derailed, Nitish has asked for a relief package of Rs 12,000 crore from the Centre based on tentative analysis to tackle the situation in the wake of rain deficiency and flood in some districts.
In a memorandum given to the Prime Minister, Nitish stated that Bihar this year had been severely affected by twin calamities — flood and drought — and the state was unable to face the grim situation with its “overstretched and precarious finances”.
“Our 20 districts are affected by floods; 12 districts have suffered because of unprecedented rise in the water level of the Ganga, caused by heavy rain in Uttarakhand; floods in eight districts were caused because of flooding of rivers emanating from Nepal. However, as a result of huge deficit in rainfall, especially during the sowing season of paddy, Bihar is in the grip of severe drought this year,” the memora- ndum read.
The chief minister also said that with around 1.96 crore families adversely affected by drought in 33 districts and the possibility of rest of the five districts joining the list of districts declared drought-affected, the state was facing a ser- ious crisis.
“I am extremely concerned over the grim scenario unfolding due to drought. Despite best management of its resources, the state government feels constrained and sometimes helpless when the adversities of nature continue for long as it has been the case in Bihar since 2007,” wrote Nitish.
The state has sought central assistance in the areas of agricultural input subsidy, diesel subsidy, contingent crop, gratuitous relief, livestock, drinking water, employment generation, energy and medicine.