8 West Bengal districts on watch-list for being declared drought-hit

Eight southern districts of West Bengal have been put on the State Government's watch-list for being declared as drought-hit.

The rainfall in these districts will be watched till August 15 before their being declared drought-hit, West Bengal Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta told reporters here on Thursday.

He said these districts have already received low rainfall this monsoon. Normally a district is declared drought-hit if it receives rainfall that is 50 per cent below normal.

The tag brings with it some concession on the loan-liabilities of the farmers in these places with extension of repayment periods.

Earlier Dr. Dasgupta held meetings with the representatives of four agriculture-related organisations at the Secretariat where the issue of subsidy on diesel used for irrigating the land was also discussed.

Farmers in West Bengal have been able to sow only about one-third of the total area under principal crops in the State so far, due to erratic monsoon in the State, which has a 7.4 per cent share of India's foodgrain basket. While North Bengal has received 15 per cent excess rainfall resulting in farmers cropping only about half their normal acreage during this period, in South Bengal the monsoon has been deficient to the extent of over 32 per cent affecting cropping in over 60 per cent of the area.

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