Grand opening raises hopes of a great monsoon

It’s now official. Monsoon has hit the State earlier than expected. According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), this year’s rainy season has started in the State, simultaneously with Kerala, on June 1.

“The season has begun and it will continue for the next 122 days in the State. The monsoon season has already hit the coastal Karnataka region, along with south interior Karnataka. Almost all the 19 districts, excluding Bellary in these two divisions, have received rainfall,” said IMD Regional Director S Puttanna.

The IMD has forecast that the rest of the 10 districts in North Interior Karnataka, barring Haveri which has already received rains, are likely to receive the monsoon showers in the next two to three days.

“Bellary is the only district which is yet to receive rain in South Interior Karnataka. We hope that it will also be covered in the next few days,” said Puttanna.

The IMD is forecasting that this season’s rain is going to be ‘much better’ than that received in the last two years.

“We are seeing 98 per cent of the State already covered by rainfall. We are hoping that the rain cover will continue to grow,” said the IMD director.

The showers, which have battered the State over the past few days, have caused largescale inconvenience with flooded roads, falling trees and landslides. But, it has provided respite to parched throats in the State and hope to farmers.

On Monday, the Kabini reservoir received 2,000 cusecs of water. Sources in the Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Limited (CNNL) said that the rains over the past four days had increased water levels in the Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) and Kabini reservoirs, thus easing the water crisis for the time being. Nonetheless, CNNL officials are not confirming that Bangalore is ‘out of the woods’ with regard to uninterrupted water supply.

The Karnataka Drought Monitoring Cell (KDMC), in the meantime, has said that the rainfall over the past four days had been ‘spectacular’.

“While the opening has been spectacular with largescale rainfall across the State, it is yet to be seen whether this will continue. We expect the intensity to come down and pick up by June 6, the beginning of the monsoon season,” said Dr Prakash, director of KDMC.

According to him, of the 176 taluks in the State, no less than 172 taluks have received fairly widespread rainfall. On whether the heavy rain in some parts of the State warranted any alarm, the KDMC said there was no need to panic.

“The porous nature of the soil requires not less than 150 mm of rainfall in southern interior Karnataka and at least 250 mm in northern interior Karnataka for water to overflow. Currently, the rainfall has not reached those levels. We are not in any state of alarm,” he said. Data collected from KDMC shows that over the past 48 hours, barring Koppal and Bagalkot, all districts received light rainfall. The heaviest rainfall recorded till Monday morning was in Navunda, Kundapur taluk, which received 118 mm.

When contacted, Public Works Department (PWD) officials said that all the State highways, as on Monday, had not reported any shutdown. Officials said that though there was slow movement of vehicles due to the downpour last week, it did not come to a standstill. In Shiradi Ghat, the situation remains treacherous with potholes continuing to cause problems for commuters. The PWD officials said that the situation would remain the same through the rainy season, after which they will embark on renovation of the stretch. The State government had allotted Rs 56 lakh for the purpose of renovating the road this year.

The Shiradi Ghat road is a motorists’ nightmare, due to its narrow carriageway. Though parts of it come under the National Highways Authority of India, PWD is maintaining the stretch. According to sources in PWD, the road has not received clearance for upgrading from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests. Also, no bids have been received from concessionaires to widen it into a four-lane highway.

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