After the wettest winters followed by regular rainfall during the pre-monsoon period from March to May, the first two weeks of June — paddy sowing season in Punjab and Haryana — have been one of the driest periods the states have faced since January.
Both Punjab and Haryana, two major paddy growing states with around 43 lakh hectares under rice cultivation every year (30 lakh hectares in Punjab), have witnessed -79 per cent and -85 per cent rain respectively between June 1 and June 14. Chandigarh too has witnessed -43 per cent rain during the same period.
Data sourced from the Chandigarh Meteorological Department revealed that last year, Punjab and Haryana had received more than required rainfall — 96 per cent surplus and 24 per cent surplus respectively — till June 15.
Chandigarh too had received 72.7 mm against the normal of 42.3 mm.
Data revealed that of 43 districts of both states, 11 have had no rain in the past two weeks and there was a -100 per cent departure of rain from normal required in these districts which included Barnala, Mansa, Moga, Mukatsar, Mohali and Tarn Taran in Punjab and Fatehabad, Gurugram, Jhajjar, Sonepat, Sirsa in Haryana.
While six districts of both states witnessed above -90 per cent departure from normal rain — Patiala -92 per cent, Rohtak and Kaithal -98 per cent each, Bhiwani -96 per cent, Yamuna Nagar -95 per cent, Rewari and Palwal -93 per cent each, Amabala, Panipat and Hisar too have seen the worst departure with -84 per cent and -87 per cent departure each respectively.
In Punjab too, Amritsar and Sangrur witnessed -89 per cent departure each from normal, Fatehgarh Sahib and Jalandhar witnessed -87 per cent and -83 per cent departure, respectively.
In both states only three districts got upto 50 per cent of the normal required rain — Nawanshahr, Gurdaspur and Faridkot in Punjab with -48 per cent, -43 per cent and -20 per cent rain respectively.
The remaining 15 districts all fall in the -51 per cent to -80 per cent less rainfall category.
During the pre-monsoon period from March 1 to May 31, Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh recorded 55.2 mm, 36.9 mm and 80 mm rainfall against the normal 55.1 mm, 38.8 mm and 81.2 mm respectively, which is normal as per the requirement of the region at a time when the country has seen one of the direst pre-monsoon periods in the last 65 years.
Across the country, around 25 per cent less rain was recorded against the normal required during the pre-monsoon. With paddy sowing season ongoing, no rain means a big setback in terms of ground water availability, said Punjab Agriculture Director Dr Sutantar Kumar Airy, adding they are expecting rain in the coming days.