RANCHI: In view of the possibility of a drought-like situation in Jharkhand, the state government has alerted the departments concerned, asking them to chalk out a strategy within a week to deal with it after talking to farmers. The fear of a drought looms over the state as rainfall this season has been more than 45 per cent below normal, due to which the process of sowing paddy is yet to begin in more than 10 districts.
Chatra, Bokaro, Dhanbad, Godda, Pakur, Ranchi, Seraikela-Kharsawan and Khunti are the districts worst affected by the rain deficit.
During a meeting called by Chief Secretary DK Tiwari on Monday, he directed officials to make `350 crore from the state disaster response fund available to all the deputy commissioners within a week. The chief secretary also asked the district administrations to ensure availability of seeds and fertilisers to farmers and to encourage them to plant less water-intensive crops. Weather experts said that sowing had taken place in only 18 per cent of the cultivable land in the state so far. Agricultural scientists have said farming will suffer if the rains do not revive in the coming days.