All the state-sponsored pujas, prayers, Varuna yagnams and even frog marriages seem to have gone in vain. For Andhra Pradesh is bracing for a drought, first time after five years of good monsoons.
Barring three north coastal Andhra districts bordering Orissa, the entire state is under grip of drought with very little rainfall received so far this year. The government was hoping that the monsoon might revive towards late July and bring rains. But that did not happen.
Similarly, the much-hyped cloud seeding programme has yielded little rain.
Officials say 20 of 23 districts are severely affected and formal declaration to this effect may be made on August 8, when the state chief secretary leaves for Delhi to attend a meeting of chief secretaries called by the cabinet secretary to discuss the drought situation.
A drought is declared when there is a situation of water shortage for human, cattle and agriculture, resulting in economic losses. The state gets eligible for central funds once it is declared drought-affected.
As many as 13 districts have recorded deficit rainfall, whereas the remaining 7 districts made to the scanty rainfall list. The nine Telangana districts are worst affected, having 58 per cent deficit rainfall.
Agriculture department officials said the state had received nil rainfall in the past 10 days. Worse, the meteorological department has predicted no rainfall in the next 72 hours.
However, the government has not entirely given up. It has now planned to provide 9 hours of power supply (as against seven) to all the 2.7 million farmers so that they can draw more water from underground borewells to sustain the already sown crops.