In some relief to drought-hit Maharashtra, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has retained the normal monsoon outlook (96-104 per cent of the long period average) in the state for this year, and has forecast the onset date as June 17.
“A full-blown monsoon will hit Mumbai’s Arabian coastline by June 17, while spreading to the rest of the state within a few hours,” declared IMD officials, during a presentation made before Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday.
Fadnavis was reviewing the state’s monsoon preparedness in the presence of senior ministers and officials from various agencies.
The forecast of a normal monsoon comes at a time when the state is reeling under an acute drought and water scarcity situation. The IMD has, however, predicted a weak pre-monsoon.
The state has already declared 42 per cent of its land area as being hit by drought. The water scarcity situation, too, has worsened, with nearly 5,000 villages facing severe to high shortage of clean water. The state has pressed more than 6,200 water tankers, the highest in the state’s history, to supply water to the parched regions.
At the meeting, Fadnavis, meanwhile, directed officials to ensure that all disaster mitigation measures were activated and to ensure natural calamities were averted. “All agencies must depend on institutional knowledge and foresight rather than just depending on past experience of tackling such vagaries,” he said.
While expressing satisfaction over the preparedness of the agencies, Fadnavis cautioned officials to avoid flooding in cities. He backed the idea of replicating the Mumbai flood control mode, where a network of closed circuit cameras and a 24/7 helpline has been put in place. He also ordered a compulsory review of all disaster control rooms before monsoon. The key is to reduce response time, he said.
The National Disaster Response Force has said it will deploy 18 units on standby for monsoon in the state, while the State Disaster Response Force will have three such units.