224 blocks of 22 districts of Jharkhand declared ‘drought-affected’

According to a release issued by the Chief Minister’s Office, the Jharkhand government declared 226 blocks of 22 districts as ‘drought affected’ and announced a relief package to lakhs of farmers. Simdega and East Singhbhum districts have been left out.

The government will pay Rs 3,500 to over 30 lakh farmers, which will cost around Rs 1,200 crore. The government said it would also write a letter to the Center for assistance.

Chief Minister Hemant Soren said: “There are 226 blocks drought-affected in Jharkhand. In such a situation, it is the moral responsibility of the state to provide drought relief to the affected farmers. We will spend Rs 1,200 crore, and more than 30 lakh farmers will be benefited. Have already asked officials to send a consolidated report to the Center for assistance.”

According to IMD data, 18 districts received ‘short’ rainfall between June 1 and August 15. The agriculture department’s assessment said paddy was sown in 5.4 lakh hectares of land till August 15 this year, compared to 16.3 lakh hectares (91% of the total area) in the previous season.

Agriculture director Nisha Oraon said that traditionally the monsoon period till August 15 is seen as a benchmark for determining the limit for sowing Kharif crops. “Based on this, as per the Drought Manual 2016, two triggers—rainfall diversions (dry rounds); and vegetation cover (hydrology) – were taken into account, and 243 blocks in 24 districts were identified as drought-affected,” he said.

The department is also focusing on a contingency plan to promote crop diversification to manage the risk of low production. The department supports late Kharif crops like Kulthi, Niger, Urad and Madua. The department is also focusing on early rabi to bring more area under cultivation of rapeseed, rapeseed, mustard, gram, lentil, peas, fodder and fodder crops like berseem and barley.

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