It is a stressful time for farmers across the State, thanks to truant South-West monsoon.
The helplines of Karnataka State Natural Disasters Monitoring Centre (KSNDC) has received not less than 300 calls from farmers seeking details regarding the possible revival of the monsoon.
While the Indian Meteorological Department is hopeful about the advancement of the monsoon in interior Karnataka, the Drought Monitoring Cell says at best most parts of coastal districts may get scattered rain but not interior Karnataka. The satellite imageries hardly show cloud formation over the State, including the coast.
The IMD website, which has details of the rain received so far, clearly indicates none of the districts have received normal rainfall (see the chart). But B Puttanna, Director, IMD, Bangalore, says that the monsoon, which arrived on June 5, may revive its advance in the next four to five days.
KSNDC Director V S Prakash said that “farmers, who track the movement of stars (nakshatras) to plan their agricultural activities, “missed their date” with them this time round. The transit of Rohini from April 27 to May 10, when land is prepared for sowing, and Krithika from May 11 to 24, did not receive any rain. Farmers become restless if it does not rain for sowing by April end.
“Except in some districts like Chamarajnagar, Mandya, Mysore and Hassan, early sowing operations were not taken up in other districts due to the absence of pre-monsoon showers. Now, even the monsoon is playing truant.”
Info on helplines
“Our helplines 22745232 and 22745234 which work 24/7 are flooded with calls from farmers of North Karnataka.
“They want to know if it will rain so that they can go ahead with sowing. They also ask us whether they can at least take up dryland sowing - sowing seeds along with fertilisers.
We have been advising them against it because we do not know when it will rain. Let alone seeds, even fertilisers will go waste due to oxidisation if it does not rain in time. Because of our counselling, at least sowing operations have been stopped in two lakh acres,” he said.
Prakash said farmers have been calling the helplines to say that they have sufficient stock of seeds and fertilisers but are facing water scarcity. For now, monsoon revival looks bleak.
Even if it rains after three or four days, it will be scattered, he said.
Amarnarayana, secretary, Revenue department and in-charge of the State natural disaster monitoring centres, said that the situation across the State is grim due to delayed arrival and inadequate rain in the coastal region.
“We are concerned. The Chief Secretary held a meeting to review the situation, on Friday. We are ensuring that there is no short supply of drinking water, fodder and foodgrains in the drought-hit areas.
“We have been told that there would be no significant rainfall in the next five to six days,” he added.