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Hope under a cloud

The state is gearing up to face the worst drought that it has suffered in a long time. As many as 37 of the 50 districts have already been declared drought-affected....

madhya pradesh

east madhya pradesh

normal rainfall 774 mm

actual rainfall 490 mm

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Departure -37%

May be worst drought in 100 years,warns CM

The state is gearing up to face the worst drought that it has suffered in a long time. As many as 37 of the 50 districts have already been declared drought-affected. Among the worst-hit districts are Katni,Panna,Damoh,Bhind,Morena and Sheopur Kalan,with rainfall deficiency of 60 per cent or more.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan warned that if the situation does not improve soon,the state will face its worst drought in a century. The government has already estimated paddy shortfall under Kharif to touch 30 per cent,which may rise to 60 per cent if it does not rain by the end of August.

Chouhan called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh earlier this week to demand central assistance. The state has sought additional funds to purchase electricity; 100 per cent subsidy on diesel; 35 kg foodgrain per family for the drought-affected under PDS. The state government has also asked the Centre to provide for 180 days of employment under NREGS in drought-hit districts.

— milind ghatwai

uttar pradesh

west uttar pradesh

normal rainfall 531 mm

actual rainfall 289 mm

Departure -46%

58 out of 71 districts drought-hit

AS MANY as 58 out of 71 districts of UP,with the Bundelkhand region being the most parched,have been declared as drought-hit by the state government. In these districts,as much as 30 per cent of agricultural land could not be used for sowing the Kharif crop.

“We have submitted a demand for the sanction of a special ‘drought mitigation package’ of Rs 8,993 crore to the Centre,” said UP Chief Secretary Atul Gupta. Despite the rains in August,the deficiency in rainfall remains at an alarming 46 per cent. The Agriculture Department estimates that the rainfall this month will improve productivity of the paddy crop by about 10 per cent.

— VIRENDRA NATH BHATT

maharashtra

marathwada

normal rainfall 451 mm

actual rainfall 225 mm

Departure -50%

‘Scarcity-like’ situation in 158 talukas

FOR the first time since 2003,the Maharashtra government has declared “scarcity-like” situation in 158 talukas — mainly in the Marathawada region,Yavatmal and Chandrapur districts. In 2003,the state government had declared “scarcity-like” situation in 77 of the total 353 talukas.

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According to the government,23 of the total 35 districts in the state have received 50-70 per cent rainfall,while eight districts have received less than 50 per cent rainfall. Only four districts in the state have received more than 75 per cent rainfall. With water levels down to 46 per cent,the government is looking at a looming drinking water crisis. According to agriculture department officials,moong,soyabean and some pulses have been “adversely affected”. Moreover,cotton and tur dal produce will be largely affected if there is no rainfall in the coming week.

— Swatee Kher

jharkhand

normal rainfall 740 mm

actual rainfall 430 mm

Departure -42%

An all-dry state

IN A state where less than 10 per cent of the total cultivable land is under irrigation,with the remaining dependent on rains,it came as a serious blow when Governor K Sankaranarayanan declared that all the 24 districts here were drought-hit. In fact,politicians cutting across party lines are now demanding that the state be notified as famine-affected.

A P Singh,Secretary( Agriculture),admits this is for the first time that the state was declared drought-hit in the middle of the paddy season. “In all,sowing has taken place in 4,62,018 hectares whereas we were targeting 1,692,000 hectares. The other Kharif crops like maize,pulses and oil seeds have also shown a reduction varying from 50 per cent to 60 per cent.” While Jharkhand has demanded a special relief package of nearly Rs 4,900 crore from the Centre,the state government has approved of a Rs 2.80 crore plan to distribute seeds of crops,including tomatoes,chillies and brinjals.

— Manoj Prasad

bihar

normal rainfall 696 mm

actual rainfall 501 mm

Departure -28%

Paddy cultivation down by 58 pc,maize 27 pc

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EARLIER this month,the Bihar government declared 26 of its 38 districts drought-hit. An 11-member team headed by Union Agriculture Secretary R S Tiwari arrived here on Wednesday to assess the situation in affected districts.

According to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar,paddy cultivation is down by 57.7 per cent,while maize cultivation has recorded a shortfall of 27.4 per cent. The state government has demanded Rs 23,071 crore from the Centre to fight drought. The Chief Minister met Union Ministers P Chidambaram,Sharad Pawar and Sushil Kumar Shinde in this regard.

“We will soon decide on distributing one quintal foodgrain among 1.26 lakh drought-hit families,” said the CM. He said the state government would also provide money for cattle food and ensure that drinking water and nutritional tablets reach drought-hit areas.

— SANTOSH SINGH

andhra pradesh

rayalaseema

normal rainfall 207 mm

actual rainfall 143 mm

Departure -31%

Silver lining: Rains wash away shadow of drought

A DAY after Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy decided to postpone taking a decision on declaring drought in the state,heavy rains lashed the state on Thursday,easing the drought-like situation. While,till August 19,Coastal Andhra,Telanagana and Rayalaseema regions reported scanty or deficient rainfall,the status changed on Thursday — excess rainfall in Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema. Telangana region is still in the red but the percentage of deficient rainfall has come down from 81 per cent to 55 per cent.

Revenue and Relief Minister D Prasada Rao said that sowing operations during the Kharif season were taken up on four million hectares of land against the normal crop area of eight million hectares,due to insufficient rainfall. “We have arranged to supply free seeds for alternative and less water-intensive crops to farmers where there is insufficient rainfall. I am confident that after today’s rainfall and more expected,more area would be covered under sowing,” he said.

— Sreenivas Janyala

assam

assam,meghalaya

normal rainfall 1,394 mm

actual rainfall 1,032 mm

Departure -26%

All districts hit,but late rains bring hope

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THE drought situation in Assam has suddenly improved,with heavy rainfall being reported from across the state in the past two weeks. “The situation was hopeless till two weeks ago,compelling the government to declare all the 27 districts as under agricultural drought,” said Pramila Rani Brahma,State Agriculture Minister. She said the government had estimated rice output to fall by up to 40 per cent. But now,we are hoping to achieve about 40 lakh metric tons,she said. In 2005-06,the annual paddy production fell to 29 lakh metric tons under severe drought conditions.

— Samudra Gupta Kashyap

west bengal

gangetic west bengal

normal rainfall 752 mm

actual rainfall 567 mm

Departure -25%

Rains bring relief: minister says ‘worst is over’

THE rainfall over the last one week has saved the day for West Bengal farmers. “The worst is over for us as we received a good amount of rain in the past week. So,we are not going to declare any district drought-hit for now,” said Agriculture Minister Naran Dey.

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“If we take the combined rainfall for July and August,the deficit still stands at 19 per cent. But we can now say that rainfall has been almost normal,” said an official of the agriculture department.

The recent showers have also put paddy farmers in a better position. About 34.8 lakh hectares of land is now under paddy cultivation as against 40.17 hectares for the corresponding period last year.

— Sabyasachi Bandopadhyay

punjab

normal rainfall 352 mm

actual rainfall 224 mm

Departure -36%

Deficient rainfall,but fields still green

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ITS lush green paddy fields prove that rain or no rain,Punjab can survive a drought or two. Despite rain deficiency of 35 per cent in the period from June 1 to August 12 this year,the area under paddy cultivation in Punjab has not only exceeded this year’s target of 26.5 lakh hectares but is now touching 27.15 lakh hectares,aided by a little diversification within paddy — nearly five lakh hectares are under basmati varieties this year as against 3.5 lakh hectares last year. With sowing still on,the state is likely to achieve last year’s figure of 27.3 lakh hectares under the crop.

With nearly 97 per cent of Punjab’s area being covered by assured irrigation,through statewide network of canals and 11 lakh tubewells,the government hopes to procure nearly 140 lakh metric tonnes of paddy this year,higher than the 132.17 lakh MT last year.

The area under Punjab’s other main Kharif crop of cotton is also likely to go up to 5.3 lakh hectares as compared to last year’s 5.27 lakh hectares. The government says none of the districts can be declared drought-hit despite over 60 per cent deficient rainfall in some districts as no crop loss or uprooting of crops has been reported.

— Sukhdeep Kaur

haryana

haryana,chandigarh,delhi

normal rainfall 329 mm

actual rainfall 122 mm

Departure -63%

Banking on basmati

WITH a higher rainfall deficiency of 56 per cent,Haryana is not doing as well as neighbouring Punjab in terms of total sown area. About 10.9 lakh hectares is under paddy cultivation,as against the target of 11.5 lakh hectares. Last year,it was at an all-time high of 12.1 lakh hectares. A leading basmati producer,the area under PUSA 1121,Sharbati and other basmati varieties in Haryana is pegged to go up further this year since it can be sown late and requires lesser water than regular paddy. In the rice belt of Kurukshetra,Kaithal and Karnal,the area under basmati has gone up to 60 per cent.

However,the total Kharif production in the state is expected to decline by 15 to 20 per cent. The state has prepared a contingency plan to bring more area under guar,pulses,oilseeds,maize,jowar,bajra,sugarcane and cotton to deal with the situation. Haryana has not declared any of its 21 districts as drought-hit despite many areas reporting rain deficiency ranging between 60 to 89 per cent.

— Sukhdeep Kaur

tamil nadu

Tamil Nadu,puducherry

normal rainfall 160 mm

actual rainfall 167 mm

Departure +5%

Paddy cultivation area down by 20 pc

UNTIL a sudden improvement this week,the Southwest Monsoon,which normally helps the farmers prepare the ground for the Rabi crop,has been deficient in 26 out of the 31 districts as per the Regional Meteorological Centre,Chennai. According to the state government’s estimate,this will lead to a loss in area of cultivation of paddy to the extent of 3.70 lakh hectares. To put this in perspective,this is about 20 per cent of the nearly 2 million hectares of paddy cultivation across the state. The water shortage has led to loss in area of cultivation of other crops too.

— Gopu Mohan

karnataka

north interior karnataka

normal rainfall 295 mm

actual rainfall 244 mm

Departure -17%

70 pc below normal rainfall in four districts

COMPARED to many other parts of the country,the drought situation in Karnataka has been moderate,with deficient rainfall being confined to parts of four interior districts in the north.

While the early part of monsoon beginning June 1 brought a lot of cheer to the state,the recent weeks have caused concern. The Karnataka Drought Monitoring Cell has reported that rainfall recorded for the week ending August 12 was the worst in 40 years. The interior regions in the northern part of the state,especially the districts of Bellary,Raichur,Bidar and Gulbarga,have recorded successive weeks of 70 per cent below normal rainfall.

According to the provisional data on agriculture put out by the Karnataka government’s department of agriculture,as of August 10,an area of 52 lakh hectares had been sown by farmers in the state against a normal area of 56.38 lakh hectares.

— Johnson T A

chhattisgarh

normal rainfall 844 mm

actual rainfall 587 mm

Departure -30%

‘Rice bowl’,but few grains this year

THE monsoon deficit and continuing dry spell has hit 44 tehsils,spread over more than half-a-dozen districts,raising concerns over a possible steep decline in paddy yield.

Though the state is yet to officially declare any of 148 tehsils as drought-hit,all the districts were asked about a week ago to submit their reports based on “anawari”— a traditional method of assessment of crops based on eye-estimates. These reports indicate that crops in the above-mentioned 44 tehsils have been hit. The worst affected districts are Koriya,Surguja,Jashpur,Korba and Dantewada,while patches of Narayanpur,Kanker,Rajnandgaon and Kawardha are facing drought-like conditions.

Official sources said sowing could not take place in more than 9 lakh out of the total 35.37 lakh hectares of land — of which 72 per cent is solely dependent on monsoon rainfall — under paddy cultivation during Kharif due to scanty rainfall in the state,which was known as the rice bowl of undivided Madhya Pradesh.

Though the Agriculture Department target was to achieve a paddy production of 65.54 lakh tonnes,it could decline to around 51 lakh tonnes.

— joseph john

First published on: 21-08-2009 at 04:09:07 am
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