Nitish Kumar seeks Rs 12,000 crore as drought relief from Centre

AIn Bihar, 33 out of 38 districts have been decalred drought-affected by the state government

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday demanded Rs 12,000 crore from the Centre as relief fund for the drought situation in 33 of the total 38 districts of the state.

Kumar, at Delhi on a two-day visit, made the demand during his meeting with Finance Minister P Chidambaram, also asking a central team to visit Bihar in order to assess the situation.

Kumar is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday over the issue.

Bihar government had Wedneswday declared 33 of the total 38 districts in the state as drought-affected.

Kumar said his government is keeping a watch on the situation and if required, the remaining five districts will also be declared drought-affected.

He maintained that Monsoon has been 37 per cent deficient and the sowed crops in the state are drying.

"We have informed them about our needs. We would want their (Centre) teams to visit Bihar. We are giving them a paper in this regard. Today, I will meet the Agriculture Minister and tomorrow the Prime Minister on this issue," he said when asked what transpired during his meeting with Chidambaram.

Asked about the amount of central assistance the state requires, Kumar said the amount required as per the assessment made now is Rs 12,000 crore but "it may increase later when the central team visits us."

"But now whatever broad assessment we have done, that we will give to to the Agriculture Minister today and to the Prime Minister tomorrow. Today I have not given any paper to Chidambaram, I just apprised him of the situation," he said.

Kumar will also deliver a lecture at an annual programme of the National Commission for Minorities on Friday.

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