Spells of rain bring relief to parched Bihar



After a long dry spell, light to moderate rains in the last 24 hours across the state have brought smiles on the faces of the people of Bihar, which is facing one of its worst ever water crises.

According to the local weather department officials, this was the first spell rain after the monsoon arrived in Bihar on June 22. 

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has not only forecast that the rains would continue, but it has also predicted heavy rainfall in the state in the coming days. 

Two days after Bihar Chief Minister Nutish Kumar asked all district officials to get ready to fight a likely drought in the state, the rains in the past 24 hours have come as a good news, particularly for the farmers.

A rain deficit of 41 per cent has been recorded for the month of June while the deficit figures stand at 43 per cent for the month of July so far. 

While the rains have come as a respite for the people suffering from the scorching heat and unbearably high humidity, they have also provided much-needed relief to thousands of people facing severe water crisis caused by the unprecedented fall in water tables following the severe heat wave in Bihar.

With more rains in store as per the Met department predictions, one can expect ground water levels to bounce back to normal soon. 

According to Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) official Ashok Kumar, most of the 38 districts in the state are facing water crisis after drastic fall in ground water levels. 

"With more rainfall expected in the coming days, we expect that the ground water levels would rise, which will help people hit by scarcity of drinking water."

Bihar Agriculture Minister Prem Kumar said that rains would cheer the farmers as they would boost the sowing of paddy and transplantation of paddy saplings. 

Officials in the agriculture department said that so far paddy sowing has been poor in most districts of the state due to lack of water. 

Following the directives of Nitish Kumar, the Bihar legislature will hold a special debate on the water crisis facing the state on July 13. 

The debate will be attended by all the members of the Legistative Assembly and the Legislative Council in the Central Hall of the Assembly. The attending MLAs and the MLCs will present before the government the ground reality of water shortage in their respective constituencies. 

Last year, 280 blocks in the state's 38 districts were declared drought-hit after deficient rainfall. With rains so far less than expected, the situation is alarming in all these blocks. Last week, the Chief Minister had said that he was fearing another spell of drought in Bihar. 

In the past few years, several government reports have pointed out that the water crisis in Bihar was the result of overexploitation of underground water, which is showing signs of stress now. Nitish Kumar has repeatedly expressed his concern over the issue. 

The Central Ground Water Board's report for 2016-17 showed that the water levels in Bihar in May 2016, with respect to the pre-monsoon decadal mean of May (May 2006 to May 2015) witnessed a fall of 67 per cent in 594 Hydrograph Network Stations. 

Scientists have made it clear that indiscriminate exploitation of underground water from deeper aquifers could create a grim situation in the future.  IANS