While the state Assembly elections are round the corner, incessant rain accompanied by thunderstorm and lightning since three days in parts of North and North East Bihar has aggravated the misery of farmers. The continuous has severely hit the kharif crop including paddy and vegetable cultivation, while also posing a looming threat over the rabi season.
Water has gushed into hundreds of rural houses in districts of Muzaffarpur, Sitamarhi, West Champaran, Gopalganj, Purnea and Araria while submerging acres of cultivable lands that had matured kharif crop. Aurai, Katra, Sahebganj and Meenapur blocks in Muzaffarpur are facing the devastation of floods for a second time this year. In the backdrop of heavy rain, the Valmikinagar barrage yesterday released 5 lakh cusec (cubic foot per second) water while low-lying areas in West Champaran and Gopalganj districts got flooded again.
Md. Imitiaz Alimi, a farmer based in Aurai block, Muzaffarpur, told NewsClick, “Rains have been a major cause of concern for farmers, who fear destruction of the maturing kharif crops after two days of heavy rainfall in the Katra and Aurai block of Muzaffarpur district. The changing rainfall pattern has adversely affected our livelihood that depends upon agriculture. My paddy crop standing in 2 acre of land got severely damaged by heavy rain and excess waterlogging in the field because plants already had grains in it, and they could not bear the load of strong wind.”
Farmers are worried that the downpour that has inundated agricultural fields may also affect the growing of maize and wheat in the upcoming rabi season. Late sowing means low yield and loss to farmers. “Moreover, we have not been paid the crop loss compensation even after thre months of flood. Agriculture Department and Revenue Department should conduct survey and provide compensation to the farmers on immediate basis. It’s a double whammy for us,” claimed Ramjivan Thakur, member of Kisan Sangathan, Muzaffarpur.
Also read: Bihar: Floods in One Part, Lack of Rainfall in Another Leave Thousands of Farmers Worried
Last month, state Agriculture Minister Prem Kumar while talking to a media portal had said that standing crops spread over 7.50 hectares in 20 districts have been destroyed due to floods and announced compensation for the same. The total flood affected population this year in Bihar stood at more than 8.3 million.
Affected Paddy fields in Kosi region.
Huge damage to crops have also been reported from the Kosi region, while Saharsa district has faced the brunt of heavy rain as Vishanpur Shivram, Parsa, Nathbaadi and Chhatapur blocks reported the submergence of massive paddy fields.
People residing in blocks of Narkatiyaganj and Bagaha in West Champaran are also facing the threat of flood for a second time.
The Narkatiyaganj circle office, Rahul Kumar, told NewsClick that, “As per estimates, sugarcane and paddy in 25 acres have been affected after flood water pushed into low lying areas. Administration in on alert and surveying the loss due to flood, while compensation would be given at the earliest.”
The IMD bulletin stated that the heavy rainfall can be attributed to development of cyclonic storm in western Madhya Pradesh since the last two days and is heading toward Bihar. The monsoon trough is running over Bihar, east Uttar Pradesh, Malda and thence east-north eastwards to Nagaland across Assam Meghalaya. This is for the second time in this monsoon season that the state is facing excess rainfall, with Bihar being declared as most surplus monsoon state earlier this year.
Meanwhile, vehicle traffic has come to a halt on many state and national highways due to the rain. A few rivers, including Bagmati, Lalbakeya and Adhwara groups are also flowing over danger marks at few places in Sitamarhi and Sheohar. The Central Water Commission has flagged concern of extremely heavy rainfall over North and East Bihar rivers Gandak, Burhi Gandak, Bagmati, Kamla Balan, Adhwara, Kosi and Mahananda, which are likely to rise rapidly.
Bagmati in Sitamarhi, Gandak in Gopalganj and Mahanand in Katihar and Purnea were found flowing at severe level.
Lauriya-Narkatiyaganj Flooded National Highway
The road connection between Motihari and Sheohar is snapped as the water of Burhi Gandak has been flowing over roads near Belwa ghat in Sheohar district. In West Champaran, the Lauriya-Narkatiyaganj National Highway had 2-3 feet water that wrecked vehicular movement.
As per officials of the Patna Meteorological Centre, Bihar has received 1130 mm rain against normal 970 mm between June to September which accounts for 17% surplus rain with Darbhanga (51%) receiving the highest, followed by East Champaran (42%).
The author is an independent journalist.