Centre convenes review meeting on monsoon

Formation of low pressure zone on Bay of Bengal expected in next 24 hours

 With the Indian Meteorological Department hoping for a monsoon revival in the Central plains and parts of the northern peninsula, Union Agriculture Secretary T Nanda Kumar said the next 15 days were crucial to kick-start sowing activities.

The crop scientists at the Indian Council of Agriculture Research pointed out that even if the monsoon revived by July 15, there might not be problems with regular crops as many early-maturing varieties were available.

On Wednesday, IMD forecast a “below normal” 93 per cent rainfall for July and “above normal” 101 per cent rainfall for August.

To make matters worse, IMD predicted a 19 per cent shortfall in monsoon for northwest India, which includes the breadbasket of Punjab and Haryana.

Even though farming in Punjab and Haryana is irrigation-dependent, a deficient rainfall means shortage of water availability in the canals as well.

The officials pointed out it was too early to describe the season as drought year and one should wait till the middle of July before implementing crisis plans.

Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat may stock early-maturing varieties of sorghum, groundnut, pigeon pea, bajra, soybean, sunflower, maize, seasame, moong and urd as a part of their contingency plan, ICAR said in its advisory issued on Wednesday.

There was no specific contingency plan for Karnataka as sowing was completed in most parts of the State, except the coastal region, where farmers primarily cultivate plantation crops. The State officials informed the Centre that sowing had taken place in 28 lakh hectares.

Critical condition

However, the absence of rain in the last fortnight and the depletion of water levels in rivers and many reservoirs made the condition critical. The officials admitted if the dry spell continued, the farm situation would become precarious.

Till now, mostly pulses have been sown as sowing took place in the beginning of the monsoon season.

“So far these crops have not been affected, but the next one week is crucial. If rain failed, the standing crops in the state will start withering,” officials told Deccan Herald.
Besides Karnataka, officials from Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh participated in the meeting to draw up contingency plans.

The farm productivity in these states will be the major driver behind the revival of the economy. The monsoon trough, reached Gujarat on Wednesday. And, formation of a low pressure zone on the Bay of Bengal is expected in the next 24 hours, which may aid in bringing monsoon rain in the central plains in the next 3-4 days.

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