State Government on Wednesday initiated a drought assessment process to check the effect of rainfall deficit in 14 identified districts across the State, officials from the State Disaster Management Authority said.
The State will follow a three tier process to assess the situation in these districts and the concerned Deputy Commissioners will be apprised about the process, said Special Secretary of Jharkhand Disaster Management Authority, Manish Tiwari. Some of the worst affected districts in terms of rainfall deficit in Jharkhand this year are Godda, Pakur, Chatra, Garhwa and Saraikela Kharsawan, he added. However, the Government did not release any official document highlighting the names of all the 14 districts.
“In the first tier of the assessment, the deviation from normal rainfall will be checked. In the second tier, the net sown area will be checked and satellite imageries will be used. Ground water level and water level in dams and rivers will be assessed in the final step,” said Tiwari, adding that the final report will be sent to the Centre.
Later, a team from the Centre will verify the assessment report and declare drought in the affected areas. Last year, the State Government had sought to declare 206 blocks drought-hit after assessment. However, after verification, the team from Centre decided to declare only 129 of them drought-affected.
According to figures with the Directorate of Agriculture, Jharkhand, which witnessed a rainfall deficit of 35 per cent by the beginning of July, received 75 per cent of ideal rainfall in July and 80 per cent of ideal rainfall in the month of August so far. Rains since mid-July have somewhat made up for the deficit during the advent of Monsoon here, officials said. However, some isolated pockets have witnessed abnormally rainfall deficient this year, they added.
In 2018, the State declared blocks in 18 of 24 districts drought-affected. As many as 93 blocks were declared severely affected, while 36 were told to be moderately affected. As per weather experts, seven districts–Koderma, Bokaro, Chatra, Deoghar, Garhwa, Khunti, Pakur—recorded rain deficit of 40 per cent and above during monsoon in 2018. Koderma and Pakur districts received 55 per cent less rains than its normal monsoon quota. The delayed onset of monsoon caused a rain deficit of at least 33 per cent last year in June, which disturbed the sowing process.
This year, too, the delayed onset of monsoon and scanty rains during the peak season have played spoilsport for farmers. The sowing process for paddy, the largest grown crop here, was delayed in at least 11 of 24 districts. In a bid to check the loss and provide alternative sources of income to affected farmers, the Government rolled out the Mukhya Mantri Krishi Ashirwad Yojana (MMKAY) on August 10. Under the scheme, any farmer who owns up to five acres of land will get Rs.5000 for each acre from the State Government.
This benefit is over and above the benefits under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme of the Centre.