Late rain blunts drought edge | india | Hindustan Times
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Late rain blunts drought edge

india Updated: Sep 11, 2009 02:20 IST
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Call it weird weather. India’s June-September monsoon has revived sharply at a time when it usually starts tapering off, securing all major kharif crops and raising water levels in key reservoirs.

The wet spell will likely blunt the impact of a severe drought by improving production levels, experts have said.

<b1>The monsoon upturn has reduced rainfall deficiency from 29 per cent in June, the driest in 83 years, to 20 per cent now.
The revival has also improved moisture content in the soil, critical for the upcoming rabi (winter-sown) crops.

Water levels in 81 key reservoirs rose to 51 per cent of their capacity from 45 per cent a week ago, according to data from the Central Water Commission. The levels still remain below last year’s by 15 percentage points.

The farm ministry expects India’s net-sown or total area under kharif or summer paddy to go up, further narrowing the current shortfall of 63 lakh hectares from a year ago. However, the government still fears rice output would tank by 10 million tonnes, from last year’s 93 million tonnes.

“The widespread rains have helped improve all kharif crops, especially sugarcane,” central agriculture commissioner NB Singh told HT on Thursday.