Bihar is staring at a drought this year with rainfall deficiency jumping from nil in July-end to a whopping 18 per cent by August- end. Figures available on the IMD website show 22 out of 38 districts getting deficient monsoon rainfall (- 20 to -59% against the corresponding normal) with Begusarai posting the largest deficit figure between -60% and -99%.
State capital Patna, too, had a 41% deficient rainfall receiving 429.2mm between June 1 and September 1, against the corresponding normal of 725.1mm for the same period.
Most of the 22 districts, which have received deficient rainfall, are located in south Bihar—Gaya (-29%), Nalanda (-35%), Jamui (-30%) and Banka (-37%) among others. Sixteen districts, on the other hand, have got normal rainfall (+/-19%) with none getting excess rainfall (above 20%).
Bihar has received 659.4mm monsoon rain this season so far against the corresponding normal of 808.6mm —an 18% deficit.
Weathermen attributed the poor rainfall in August to unfavourable position of monsoon trough line, which is an elongated low-pressure area that stretches from west to east on which monsoon rainfall normally hinges.
“Bihar receives good rainfall when the trough line passes from its normal position- between Ganganagar in Rajasthan and Bay of Bengal. However, it was mostly positioned in the lower latitudes, south of its normal position in the month of August and kept fluctuating. Thus, Bihar received showers only in isolated manner and mostly due to development of convective clouds owing to excess heating in the region,” said Pradhan Parth Sarthi, president of Patna chapter of India Meteorological Society.
He added: “Normally, the trough line is positioned in the foothill of Himalayas in August, which leads to significant showers in Bihar. However, this time it was positioned much southward.”
Agriculture experts also claimed that the distribution of rainfall was highly skewed this season. “Out of the 659mm rainfall received in Bihar, 418mm showers were received in July only. This means that rainfall was minimal in June and August,” said Anil Kumar Jha, an expert with state agriculture department.
Sarthi, who is also a professor at the Central University of South Bihar, ruled out any significant recovery from rainfall deficiency in September. “Monsoon remains at its peak in the month of July and August. September is the month of retreating monsoon and long spell of heavy downpour is unlikely this month. Thus, any substantial recovery is unlikely in September and Bihar is most likely to face drought this year,” Sarthi said.
The state government is already preparing to tackle drought situation and taking steps for minimizing the losses due to adverse impact of deficient showers on paddy crops. CM Nitish Kumar held a meeting to review the drought scenario in south Bihar districts in Gaya on Sunday.
Agriculture expert Anil Kumar Jha said standing paddy crops are under stress due to uneven distribution of rainfall. “Though 83% of the targeted paddy transplantation has taken place in the state but their growth and final yield might be affected due to highly uneven distribution of showers. Paddy requires even distribution of showers throughout the four months long monsoon season (June- September),” he added.