Ten of the 22 districts in Punjab accounting for 44 per cent of the total paddy and basmati sown this season are reeling under deficit rainfall, data sourced from the Indian Meteorological Department has revealed. In neighboring Haryana, also a major paddy grower, 18 of the total 21 districts have recorded deficit rainfall this month till August 9.
Incidentally, Punjab received 40 per cent of the total normal monsoon rain in July itself.
As per the data from IMD Chandigarh, the districts with deficit rain include Amritsar (36 per cent), Barnala (39 per cent), Jalandhar (58 per cent), Hoshiarpur (53 per cent), Gurdaspur(31 per cent), Ferozpur(35 per cent), Sangrur(36 per cent), Mohali(13 per cent), Ropar(14 per cent)and Nawanshahr (26 per cent). Overall, Punjab has recorded 16% less rainfall in the first week of August.
Rice is being cultivated in 29.17 lakh hectares (lh) in Punjab. It included 6.25 lh under Basmati and 22. 92 lh under water guzzling paddy. Out of this 12.74 lh area – 9.62 lh paddy acreage and 3.11 lh Basmati – falls in rain deficit districts. Paddy crop needs water, beginning with sowing in June till few weeks before its harvesting in October.
Meanwhile, Kapurthala, Muktsar and Bathinda districts received 105 per cent, 88 per cent and 53 per cent surplus rain till date, respectively, this rainy season.
In July, Punjab received 195.5 mm rain out of total 490 mm normal monsoon rain that it receives in four months of rainy season from June to September.
“Most of the rain water goes waste. Government can harvest rain water in ponds and old wells and use it for irrigation,” said a senior officer in Punjab Agriculture Department, adding that instead of focusing on the basics like conserving rain water, the government is only thinking of crop diversification. “We need to have multi-pronged approach to save ground water,” the official, who did not wished to be named, added.
In Haryana, rice crop is cultivated in 11-12 lakh hectares. The state has recorded 31 per cent less rain till date with Panchkula being the worst hit with 69 per cent deficit. In Panchkula, 167.6 mm rain was recorded against normal rainfall of 545.9 mm. Rohtak and Fatehabad are other worst hit districts with 65 per cent and 57 per cent less rain, respectively. The other rain deficit districts are Panipat (48 per cent), Kaithal (47 per cent) and Jhajjar, Mahenderagharh (46 per cent each). The remaining 12 districts with deficit rain include Faridabad, Amabala, Bhiwani, Gurgaon, Hisar Jind, Mewat, Rewari, Sonepat, YamunaNagar and Palwal. Only three districts – Kurukshetra, Karnal and Sirsa – got surplus rain till date.
The joint capital of both the states Chandigarh too has recorded 31% deficit rain till first week of August.
Himachal records 28% less rainfall
The hilly Himachal Pradesh has received 28 per cent less rainfall in the period June 1 to August 8, the Meteorological Department has said. The state received 326.6 mm rainfall against the normal of 452.3 mm for this period. Seven of the state’s total 12 districts received much less rainfall in this period.
Lahaul and Spiti, Chamba, Kangra, Kinnaur, Mandi, Sirmaur and Solan districts witnessed 28 to 71 per cent less rainfall. The remaining five districts – Shimla, Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Kullu and Una – have received normal rainfall so far