June 17, 2009 11:36:18 pm
When it showered in the first week of June in Rahatwade,25 km from Pune,Rajendra Chorge started sowing rice in his 3.5-acre land. Buoyed by the showers,many other farmers in the village did the same,expecting monsoon at least by June 7.
They are still waiting for the elusive rain,which the IMD now says will hit Pune district only by June 20. We sowed rice on 400 acres of land. The rains have disappeared. Most of the seed is likely to go waste, said Chorge. Each acre required 30 kg of rice. For 3.5 acres,he used over 100 kg seed worth around Rs 1,800.
Some of us are using borewells to water the land. It takes one-and-a-half-day to irrigate an acre. With electricity playing truant,it is tough, said Santosh Chorge,another farmer. Santosh has sown rice on one acre and pulses on three acres. We are hoping the rains to show up this week,before the seeds go waste, he said.
Chorge said other farmers in Kalyan (near Sinhagad),Shivapir,Ranji,Kolanpur and 7-8 villages are facing the same problem.
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Agriculture Commissioner Prabhakar Deshmukh,however,said it is still too early for worry as the sowing deadline is July 15. Sowing has been done in only about 4 to 5 per cent land across the state,in pockets where there has been some rain. In most other areas,we have supplied seeds and fertilizers and people have preparing to sow seeds. The rains may have been delayed,but it is not too late, he said. Average rainfall in Pune for June is 116.1mm. Till June 16,the city received 74.9 mm rainfall.
In certain parts of the state heat wave conditions still prevail.
The IMD has said that it is not an abnormal condition and there have been times when the rains were delayed.
Director,weather section,IMD,PCS Rao formation of a low-pressure system in the Northwest Bay of Bengal is likely in the next three days. If formed,it will be favourable for monsoon in the state, he said.
The IMD had initially predicted that the rains would reach the state on May 31. Cyclone Aila disturbed the process. The revised date was June 7. It advanced till Ratnagiri but after that there has been little progress. Generally,monsoon winds recover in four to five days after a cyclone. But this time it is taking longer, said Rao.
Dispelling worries,Rao said,In 2005,monsoon reached Pune on June 19,and June 17 in 2007. It did not hamper overall rainfall pattern as on both occasions the average rainfall in the country was 99 and 106 per cent,respectively.
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