Farmers in Bihar Fear Another Drought


Patna: Jogendar Mandal and his co-villager Kamlesh Yadav are worried over poor monsoon even as of the first week of July. Both are marginal farmer of Banka district, they fear another drought this year with state recorded 41 percent less than the normal rainfalls in June and 43 percent less than normal rainfall in July so far ,as per the rainfall report of Indian Meteorological Department.

Mandal and Yadav are two of thousands of farmers of Banka, one of the districts facing drought-like conditions — Jamui, Bhagalpur, Munger and Lakhisarai being among the other affected districts.

“We have no idea or clue to predict weather, but dry spell so far during the time of heavy rains indicate that something is bad in-store for us. Rain gods are giving us sleepless nights this time like last year. It appears we may face another drought,” said Mandal, in his early 40s, sitting on a locally made bamboo cot. He told Newsclick that thanks to mobile phones, he has been able to get connected to outside his village.

Poor monsoon in Bihar, as of July 4, has affected paddy sowing — triggered fears of another drought among millions of the state’s farmers, agriculture scientists and officials.

Even chief minister Nitish Kumar recently said he feared another spell of drought in Bihar. Taking the issue of dry spell and water crisis seriously in Bihar, the state government and state legislature have decided to organise a special debate on July 13 in the central hall of the state Assembly here to discuss the issue and measures to tackle the challenge by taking feedback from legislators.

With water problems creating havoc among people, on the directive of chief minister Nitish Kumar a special debate would be held. All legislators including ruling parties and opposition will attend and will present ground reality of water problems in their respective constituencies before the government.

“Scanty monsoon rains in Bihar have badly affected paddy sowing. Till date, 61.73% paddy seedling has been reported. But situation is very bad in Bhagalpur and Munger commissionary as only 5% paddy seedling has been reported,” said an agriculture officer.

The state government has targetted paddy cultivation on 33 lakh hectares this year. But till date, paddy seedlings have been reported on about 3.30 lakh hectares.

“What is alarming is that paddy saplings transplantation delayed, so far transplantation is reported in only 93,000 hectares, it is 2.83% of the targetted. Besides, no sapling transplantation started in 27 of 38 districts,” another official told Newsclick here.

“Farmers are also getting restless about transplanting paddy seedlings in view of the lack of water,” said Mandal. He said that paddy seedlings were badly hit in over two dozen districts. All these districts are facing drought-like situation, he said. The state government would provide diesel to farmers at subsidised rates under a contingency plan to cope with the drought-like situation, he added.

According to government’s own data, nearly two-thirds of Bihar’s population of 11 crore are dependent on agriculture for their livelihood.

Not only that, nearly two-thirds of all agricultural activity in the state is dependent on the rains. Most of them are small and marginal farmers.

For most of the state’s population, therefore, a good monsoon is often the difference between life and death.

Agriculture is the backbone of Bihar’s economy, employing 81% of the workforce and generating nearly 42% of the state’s domestic product, according to the state government’s figures. About 76% of Bihar’s population is dependent on agriculture for livelihood.

Reports reaching Patna said unlike the past, there is no water for irrigation in the canals. A large part of central Bihar is irrigated by water from the Sone river, brought through canals.

A few farmers have managed to save paddy seeds sown last month by pumping ground water and others are trying to do the same now.

IRCTC launches tour packages from Vizag to Rajasthan, Gaya and Thailand


The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd. (IRCTC) has initiated special tour packages from Vizag to Rajasthan, Gaya, and Thailand. The tours will be conducted in the months of August and September to facilitate those looking to explore the aforementioned places.

Overall, the packages will include airfare, a visit to several famous tourist destinations, accommodation in 3-star hotels, breakfast and dinner as per itinerary and many other facilities.

Land of Royals- Rajasthan
The trip to Rajasthan has been organized in such a way that all the major tourist destinations, including Saheliyon ki Bari in Udaipur, Hawa Mahal, Jal Mahal, the Dargah Sharif in Ajmer, and the Narangah Fort, will be covered. The 5-day trip will commence with a connecting flight to Rajasthan will departing from Vizag on 13 August. The tour will cover prominent sightseeing cities like Jaipur, Pushkar, Udaipur and the Shilpgram Village of arts and crafts. The trip will eventually end on 18 August with a flight returning to Vizag.

The package will cost Rs.36590 for single occupancy, Rs.30870 for double occupancy, Rs.29940 for triple occupancy, Rs.26545 for a child with a bed, Rs.22340 for a child without bed. The package includes a tour manager as well.

Gaya Pind Daan
IRCTC has also introduced tour packages to the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh covering 4 nights- 5 days stay in Patna, Bodhgaya, Varanasi, Sarnath, and Allahabad. Famous tourist destinations like the Mahabodhi Temple, Vishnu Padam Temple (also called the Pinda Pradanam), the Kal Bhairav Temple, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Patalpuri. Tourists will also get an opportunity to do the legendary Aarthi at the Ganga Ghats.

The package will cost Rs.31295 for single occupancy, Rs.23755 for double occupancy, Rs.23325 for triple occupancy and Rs.22090 for a child with a bed.

Treasures of Thailand
IRCTC will also be organising a tour from Vizag to Thailand. The trip begins on 15 August with a flight leaving Vizag at 12:10 am. The first day of the tour will witness a visit to Gems Gallery in Pattaya and an evening Alcazar show followed by a night stay in Pattaya. After breakfast, the tourists are expected to proceed to Coral Island and the Nong Nooch Tropical Garden. Food will be arranged at an Indian restaurant. Once in Bangkok, arrangements will be made to visit places like the Wat Traimit, Wat Pho, i.e. the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, Safari World, Marine Park, etc.

The package will cost Rs.47141 for single occupancy, Rs.41535 for double occupancy, Rs.41535 for triple occupancy, Rs.39488 for a child with bed and Rs.31569 for a child without bed.

Toyota Expands Its Dealership Network With A New Showroom In Jharkhand


Yesterday, Toyota extended its dealership network in India with the inauguration of its 364th touchpoint in Jharkhand. The newly unveiled Dhanbad Toyota is a well-equipped, world-class facility which will cater to 3S (Sales, Service and Spares) requirements of customers and is also the 5th touchpoint in the state of Jharkhand. The touch-point was Inaugurated by Mr N Raja, Deputy Managing Director – Toyota Kirloskar Motor along with Mr Rituraj Sinha, Dealer Principal – Dhanbad Toyota. With its philosophy of ‘Customer First’, Toyota is geared up to ensure the most enjoyable and hassle-free car buying experience for every customer associating with the brand.

This new dealership spreads across 46000 sqft and will cater to the customers from the eastern parts of Jharkhand. Dhanbad Toyota is equipped with many modern amenities to strengthen Toyota’s existing network in the region and help in achieving the highest level of customer satisfaction with an entire team of well-trained professionals and service teams. In addition to showcasing the entire range of Toyota products in India, the new dealership is fully stocked to facilitate distinctive offers to customers in car servicing like Express Maintenance, Body & Paint Repair and other Value-Added Services. These services are undertaken by professionals from the best technical institutes supported by Toyota and constantly upscaled through unique skill training of global standards.

Speaking at the inauguration, Mr Rituraj Sinha, Dealer Principal – Dhanbad Toyota said, “It is our absolute privilege to get associated with Toyota, one of the global leaders in car manufacturing. We are grateful to Toyota Kirloskar Motor for their confidence and thereby making us a part of their India journey. We at Dhanbad Toyota, are here to affirm Toyota’s commitment to its customers through their experience with best-in-class purchasing and service offerings at our full-fledged facility. As ambassadors of Toyota, we look forward to representing the premium brand by demonstrating Toyota’s renowned global standard products and service quality to the people in the region, ensuring the highest level of satisfaction of the valuable Toyota Customers.”

Commenting on the opening of the new dealership, Mr. N Raja – Deputy Managing Director of Toyota Kirloskar Motor, said, “The inauguration of Dhanbad Toyota marks yet another milestone in our relentless commitment to establish fruitful and everlasting relationships with our patrons as we continuously strive to reach closer to our customers and deliver world-class Toyota products and services lineage through their delightful experience with us. We are glad to have intensified our reach in the state of Jharkhand, which is a very important aspect of our growth strategy, thus aligning with our approach to offer advanced amenities and quality services through strategically located network set-ups in different parts of the country. We have been successful in establishing a positive synergy with all our dealer partners as a result of which, Toyota has set a benchmark in the sales & service offering to the customers. As our dealer partner, Dhanbad Toyota has a good understanding of this prominent market and is aligned with Toyota’s deep-rooted focus on high-quality service with ‘Customer First’ approach. We are confident that this state-of-the-art showroom in Dhanbad will further strength our presence in this region by catering to the increasing demand for Toyota cars and enable customers to enjoy the experience of car ownership with Toyota brand”.



The eastern districts of Bihar have been observing on and off rain and thundershower activities for quite some time now. During the last 24 hours, Bhagalpur and its adjoining areas have received light to moderate rain and thundershowers.

According to Skymet Weather, the intensity of rains will increase over Bihar during the next few days. Neighbouring Jharkhand would also observe intense showers now. Light rain will be witnessed in both the states for the next 48 hours. Thereafter, the intensity of rain will increase significantly. These rains would be a result of the Cyclonic Circulation over Bihar and its adjoining areas. A well-marked Low-Pressure Area is already present over Northeast Madhya Pradesh and adjoining Southeast Uttar Pradesh, which is instrumental in giving occasional light rain in the region for the last two days.

Easterly/southeasterly winds from the Bay of Bengal will impact both the states during the upcoming rainy spell. Moreover, we expect the intensity of rain to remain high in Bihar than Jharkhand. Bihar is likely to observe light to moderate rains with a few heavy spells, while light to moderate showers with isolated heavy spells would be a sight in parts of Jharkhand.

During this spell, good rains are also expected in adjoining Nepal. This raises fear of rivers flooding in Nepal and large amounts of water flowing into Bihar and its rivers, resulting in flood like situation in the state. However, we do not expect any serious flooding to take place, but due precautions must be taken.

This spell of rain is likely to continue until July 9, with rains peaking on July 7. This could turn out to be the rainiest spell of Monsoon Rain so far. It will definitely be helpful in reducing rainfall deficiency in the state to a great extent. These showers will also be highly beneficial for crops and in soil moisture restoration.

Acting East: India’s Buddha diplomacy shines once more as Myanmar’s air force chief visits, prays at Bodh Gaya


In 1940, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi made no pretensions of his masterful understanding of the dynamics between religion and politics when he said in his autobiographical account: “Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is”.

And India has done well to dish out the Buddhist religious fare when it comes to visiting dignitaries from Buddhist countries. Bodh Gaya is now a near permanent fixture. The top pilgrimage site is in Bihar is where the Buddha gained enlightenment (nirvana) sitting beneath a banyan tree.

Definitely much more than religion was at play when the air force chief of Myanmar visited Bodh Gaya on Thursday. Located nearby is an Officers’ Training Academy (OTA) where many Myanmarese military officers are being trained.

The five-member Myanmarese military delegation was led by Commander-in-Chief (Air) General Maung Maung Kyaw, who is a favourite of the military chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and is expected to assume more important roles in future. The wives had also accompanied their husbands on the visit to the religious site.

On Wednesday, Maung had met with Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat and Indian Air Force chief BS Dhanoa, in what has been just the latest of a whole array of parleys between top officials of the two countries in the last couple of years.

Sharing a 1,640-kilometre-long border, India and Myanmar have an interesting relationship. Till a few years ago, Myanmar was reluctant to act on various Indian insurgent organisations that operated out of jungle camps based in Myanmar territory. These areas were looked as safe sanctuaries for the Indian insurgents.

Myanmar’s reluctance was understandable. It did not have the administrative and military reach to operate is such far off and inhospitable areas. Military equipment too was scarce.

Moreover, it was already battling several ethnic insurgencies including the Shans, Kachins and the Arakan rebels. It simply did not want to open another front.

In the course of last few years, things have changed. The weapons and logistics part was taken care of. India supplied transporting hardware including trucks as well as weapons including hundreds of 105 mm guns taken from old Indian army battle tanks, Carl Gustaf rocket launchers and other weapons. A steady supply of information followed.

More frequent meetings of top leadership, security and military officials led to closer coordination. Both militaries are now undertaking a major assault that may prove decisive.

Myanmar is also a space in which India and China are trying to spread their influence. Besides strategic plans of expanding and spreading influence, economics is also the name of the game. China sees in Myanmar a route to the Indian Ocean to bring in its oil supplies through pipelines. For India, pursuing its Act East policy in all sincerity, access through Myanmar to link up with the vibrant dynamics of South East Asia is a must.

This is not the first time that the Bodh Gaya circuit is being put to good use by the Indian military establishment. From 23 to 25 December, 2018, 60 couples from the Myanmar Army were invited to Bodh Gaya.

The Bodh Gaya idea first took shape during Rawat’s four-day visit to Sri Lanka in May 2018 when the proposal to invite Sri Lankan military personnel and their families to the OTA at Gaya was mulled.

A month later on 24 June, 2018, an IAF C-17 aircraft brought 160 Sri Lankan military personnel and their families to Bodh Gaya. The other site visited was of course the OTA. The same aircraft also flew them back to Colombo.

With religion definitely providing the fillip to the politics of the day, the Buddha must really have smiled at Bodh Gaya on Thursday.

Bihar: Another triple talaq, this time for being ‘overweight’


Even as the Centre attempts to push the controversial Triple Talaq Bill through the Parliament, yet another case of a woman being divorced over a petty reason via triple talaq came to light on Wednesday.

In the latest incident reported from Lakhimpur Kheri in Bihar, a husband accused his wife of being overweight and instantly divorced her. The victim, Shaheen, has accused her husband of calling her overweight and then divorcing her. “He has been calling me overweight for around two years now. Recently, he said that he deserves someone better and so talked about divorcing me,” said the victim.

She also said that she suspected her husband of having an affair with a ‘slim girl’ citing it to be the reason behind her husband’s oral divorce.

Shaheen, however, claimed that she did not believe in divorce, adding that she was being ill-treated by her husband. “I don’t believe in divorce, but he has been troubling me for the last two years,” said the victim.

The victim also has a five-year-old daughter. “He doesn’t let us live in our house. He used to hit us and has now thrown us out of the house,” she added, also blaming her in-laws for the treatment meted out to her. “When I go to my in-laws with my daughter, they call us ‘divorced’ and tell us to go away,” said the victim.

Incidentally, Shaheen said that even the police did not assist her when she approached them. “When I went to the police station, they did nothing,” she said.

Nonetheless, she registered a complaint in the Superintendent of Police’s office. According to a statement given by the SP, “The victim has registered her complaint. As it is a matter between the husband and the wife, the police will go about it accordingly.”

Ranchi local court summons Rahul Gandhi for ‘Modi remark’


A local court in Ranchi on Wednesday summoned Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on September 11 in a case lodged against him for his ‘all Modis are thieves’ remarks at a rally in Jharkhand capital.

Responding to a complaint case, the court of judicial magistrate Vipul Kumar had earlier issued summons notice to Gandhi asking him to appear before court through his lawyer on July 3. Gandhi however didn’t appear on Wednesday leading to postponement of date for next hearing.

While criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address at Ulgulaan Rally in Ranchi on March 2 this year, Gandhi had wondered why names of all thieves end with Modi. He was referring to Nirav Modi and others along with Narendra Modi.

Following Gandhi’s remark, a Ranchi-based lawyer Pramod Modi filed a case against the Congress leader in the Court of Judicial Magistrate Vipul Kumar.

The petitioner alleged that Gandhi, through his remark, had attempted to tarnish the image of entire Modi community. He also annexed newspaper clippings along with his complaint to prove his points.

The petitioner also claimed a compensation of Rs 20 crore for the ‘defamation’ caused to the Modi community.

Seeking an apology from the Congress leader, the petitioner lawyer stated that Gandhi’s comment badly hurt the sentiments of Modi community.

Every Blooming Thing: Everyone needs a ‘tranquil spot’ in their garden


Everyone has an area in their yard that could be called a “trouble spot”. Too much sun or too shady, on a hill, bad soil, too rocky, etc. The list goes on. We had some of these problems, as we had just moved into a new home along the river and were putting in a yard where there had never been one before. Our problem was a corner of the yard with four large sycamore trees and a valley oak all on a small rocky knoll with plenty of shade. Here’s how we dealt with it.

The time was about 16 years ago. The place, Eureka at a large garden center. As we were looking around, suddenly my husband said that he had found what we needed for the trouble spot in our yard and pointed to a Buddha statue. The price was not insignificant. He has such a “stony” look I argued. My husband informed me that Buddha was meditating. My question then was how will we get him home. My husband said that he would ride in the back seat of course. And that is what our Buddha did. He rode in the back seat with his seat belt on and a tranquil look on his “stony” face. He was much more tranquil than me, because I do not like the curvy, twisty road from the coast.

But wait, there was another problem when we got home. Not knowing anything about a garden Buddha, I did some research and found that he should never be placed directly on the ground. A search for a pedestal was needed. Thankfully we found one without too much trouble, and our garden Buddha was put in his forever spot facing toward our house. This is placement protocol and is said to bestow great abundance on the home. I also discovered, for some mysterious reason, you should never buy a Buddha for yourself. As my husband bought this one for me, we are okay.

There was more information I discovered all those years ago. The different poses of the Buddha have different meanings. There are over 100 poses illustrating the life of Buddha. Ours happens to be a garden meditating Buddha. He represents concentration, so his eyes are closed, he is seated with both hands in his lap and his legs are crossed. He depicts tranquility and serenity. The meditation pose was used by Buddha under the legendary Bodhi tree, wherever that is.

The story is that Buddha (meaning the Awakened One) was a real person, born about 500 years B.C. in what is now modern day Nepal. His name was Siddhartha Gautama. He abandoned his privileged life to become a monk and was said to have attained nirvana (freedom from suffering) through his meditation. Buddha was merely an enlightened man not a god. Statues of Buddha are only peaceful icons, works of art and have no significance other than a decorative piece.

Every morning, as I have for years, I look out my window and see our Buddha statue who is concentrating, meditating and peaceful and know that all is good in our tranquil garden.

Red Bluff Garden Club meets the last Tuesday of the month at 12:30 p.m. (no meeting in July), at the Methodist Church 525 David Ave., Red Bluff, visitors are welcome.

Bihar: Land of Rich Cultural Heritage



Bihar has hot summers and cool winters. It has a vast stretch of fertile plain drained by the River Ganga, including its northern tributaries Gandak, Koshi and Bagmati that regularly flood parts of the plains. Other rivers in the state are Falgu, Ghaghra, Durgawati, Sone, Punpun, and Karmanasa. Central parts of Bihar have some small hills, for example the Rajgir hills near the city of Rajgir.


Hindi is the official language of the state, while Urdu is the second official language in 15 districts of the state. Maithili (including its dialect Bajjika), Bhojpuri, Angika and Magadhi are also widely spoken in this state.


Madhubani art, a form of painting that is world famous, is practised in the Mithila region of the state. Maithili music too orginates from the same region. The classical music in Bihar is a form of the Hindustani classical music. Gaya is another centre of excellence in classical music, particularly of the Tappa and Thumri styles. The Bihari thali consists of rice, roti, pickle, chutney, lentils and milk products. Llitti Chokha is a popular fast food.

Chatth Puja Almost all civilisations worship the ‘sun god’, but it has a unique form in Bihar. Chatth Puja is the only occasion where the setting sun is worshipped. For this four-day festival, people maintain sanctity and purity from even a month ahead.

Plant and animal life

Banyan, peepal, and palmyra palm trees are found in abundance. The forest regions are home to species of large mammals like Bengal tigers, leopards and elephants. Crocodiles are abundant along the Kosi river.


Mahabodhi Temple, Takht Sri Patna Sahib, Nalanda University ruins, Vishwa Shanti Stupa, Rajgir, Golghar, Vikramshila ruins.

Famous people

India’s first President Rajendra Prasad, shehnai maestro and Bharat Ratna Bismillah Khan, social reformer Jayapraksh Narayan, poet Ramdhari Singh ‘Dinkar’, politician Jagjivan Ram, and actors Manoj Bajpayee and Shatrughan Sinha.

Railway stations and airports

Main railway stations are Patna, Gaya, Muzaffarpur, Hajipur, Barauni, Samastipur, Chappra, Darbhanga. Airports are in Patna and Gaya.

Major cities

Arrah, Aurangabad, Bagusarai, Bhagalpur, Bihar Sharif, Chappra, Darbhanga, Dehri, Gaya, Jehanabad, Katihar, Motihari, Patna, Purnia and Siwan.

AES lens on Gaya now as 3 kids die


Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES), the mystery disease that has claimed lives of 156 children across Bihar so far, has claimed four more lives during the last 24 hours, taking the toll to 160, health officials said.

While one child died at the Muzaffarpur’s Sri Krishna Medical College Hospital (SKMCH), the rest three succumbed to their ailment at Gaya’s Anugrah Narayan Magadh Medical College and Hospital (ANMCH).

Spread of AES from the state’s north to south is a matter of serious concern for the health department, which is already under fire for failing to contain AES deaths as the disease has been recurring every year during the extreme summer and causing much devastation.

Chief minister Nitish Kumar, while expressing serious concern over the death in the state assembly two days back, had said that experts from across India and even US had come up conflicting and incomplete findings on causes that lead to AES among children in Bihar.

ANMCH officials said at least six children were brought to the hospital, of which four showed AES symptoms while two were brought dead in the last 24 hours. The deceased, who were referred by primary health centres, were being treated for AES, official said.

Another one died on way to Patna.

Officials said that rest three patients of suspected AES are still undergoing treatment at the ANMCH and their conditions are said to be stable.

ANMCH superintendent Dr Vijay Krishna Prasad said blood samples of all the patients had been sent to the Rajendra Medical Research Institute in Patna for laboratory tests to ascertain the type of the disease. “At present, we have identified symptoms of Japanese encephalitis and AES, but the same can be confirmed only after the RMRI tests. We can just call it suspected encephalitis cases,” the ANMCH superintendent said.

He, however, said that the medical college is well equipped to counter the menace. “We have already created 30-bed ICU attached to the paediatric ward for AES patients. Besides, we have adequate medicines and experts to handle such cases,” the superintendent said.

Since JES generally strikes in a big way after the first showers across the Magadh division, the health department had earlier chalked out strategy to combat the situation. “There would no Muzaffarpur-like situation here as we are on high alert and patients are being promptly attended upon,” a health department official said.

“The Bihar government has announced Rs 50,000 compensation to the families that have lost their kids to AES. We are now preparing the patients’ records,” the superintendent said.

Meanwhile in Muzaffarpur, the epicentre of the disease, 24 AES afflicted children are currently undergoing treatment at the SKMCH while one is being treated at the Kejriwal Maternity Clinic.