Kumar Rajiv Nayan

Ara : Rains for the past few days have brought cheers to the farmers in Bhojpur district who were  praying god and performing Yajna for rain for the last few weeks as their standing paddy seedlings had started withering away. Seedlings were at the germination stage and a good amount of water was required for their transplantation. Farmers of the district depend on good spell of rain for a good paddy crop as they expect little from defunct state tubewells and borings.

The spectre of drought was looming large over Bhojpur district about a week ago but the farmers got respite and heaved a sigh of relief after the district received a good monsoon rain for the last five days and the withering seedlings were rejuvenated and the transplantation work started.

District Agriculture Officer (DAO) Bhojpur, Sanjay Nath Tiwari, said that paddy transplantation has to be done on 1,15,000 hectare and a good rainfall was needed for better prospect of paddy crops. If the dry spell had persisted even for a week, it would have caused extensive damage to the seedlings. He said that Bhojpur was expected to get 1,000 mm of rainfall but the district has received only 350 mm rainfall so far.

The DAO said that canals irrigate at least two third of the areas but they are in a dilapidated condition and water is unable to reach the extreme end though they have enough water at present. He said that 70% transplantation work has been completed so far which is only 10% less than last year. He said as the rain came late, the late variety of paddy (MTV-7029) is preferred because that can be re-transplanted, if required.

The DAO said Rs 400 crore has been sanctioned for distribution among farmers as diesel subsidy but the related order is still awaited. Bhojpur district needs at least 2,940 cusec of water from June to September but only about 2,200 cusec of water has been released from the Indrapuri barrage so far. He said Bhojpur has remained a rain deficit district for the last four years adding 65% of nurseries have also suffered due to scanty rainfall.

At present only 130 out of 500 state tubewells are in working condition. Several tubewells are non-functional here due burnt transformers. Lack of coordination among the officials concerned of the district administration, agriculture department and the electricity department is stated to be the reason behind the non-repair of tubewells.

The southern part of Bhojpur district have a good network of canals but all of them are in dilapidated condition for want of proper maintenance despite allocation of crores of rupees every year for the purpose.

The DAO said that only 50 farmers have applied for the diesel subsidy and added that the amount would be transferred to their bank account once they link their account numbers with Aadhar cards.

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