Karnataka, Maharashtra stare at drought

Deficient monsoon worries Centre

The tardiness of the southwest monsoon, which has failed to improve in the last 10 days, will be a cause for worry in Karnataka and parts of Maharashtra that have received deficit rain.

The north interior regions of Karnataka, which are facing drought-like conditions, record 47 per cent deficit rain. DH File Photo

The main concern is that production of coarse cereals and the drinking water supply will be hit severely if monsoon does not improve in the two states.

Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, who reviewed the situation along with Food Minister K V Thomas here on Wednesday, told reporters that sowing of coarse grains such as jowar, bajra, maize and millets has been hit in Karnataka and Maharashtra due to scanty rainfall.

According to the data provided by India Meteorological Department (IMD), the north interior regions of Karnataka, which are facing drought-like conditions, have a 47 per cent deficit rain. The deficit is over 51 per cent in the south interior regions of the state.

In the central Maharashtra and Marathawada regions, the deficit is 33 per cent and 36 per cent respectively.

Pawar said that the southwest monsoon rain had improved in the past 10 days helping sowing of crops such as paddy, groundnut and soybean. “Sowing of rice, the main kharif crop, is in progress. There is good rain in Odisha and Chhattisgarh and there should not be any problem in paddy area,” he added.

“The rain in the past two days in Saurashtra and Madhya Pradesh should help the sowing of oilseeds like groundnut and soybean. Planting of cash crops such as cotton and sugarcane has also been good,” the agriculture minister said.

‘Improvement in August’

IMD Director-General L S Rathore, who briefed the ministers on the rain situation, told reporters that the monsoon had covered the entire country but the deficit of 23 per cent “is likely to remain till the end of this week.” Rathore added  that El Nino, a warmer condition in the Pacific Ocean that affects rainfall in countries like India, may set in some time during August.

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