‘Scanty rainfall, but situation not grave’
With weather experts predicting less than normal rainfall, state officials are gearing up to handle the situation though they say it is “a bit early” to declare it as an emergency situation. Sayli Udas Mankikar reports.india Updated: Jun 25, 2009 01:11 IST
It is the third week of June and the rains are not as per expectations.
With weather experts predicting less than normal rainfall, state officials are gearing up to handle the situation though they say it is “a bit early” to declare it as an emergency situation.
The state’s 2,243 major and small dams have barely 10 per cent water left in them.
At the same time last year, the stock was 15 per cent, while in 2007 it was 17 per cent.
Of the 23 lakes in the state, seven are completely dry, while eight others have between 2 and 6 per cent of water left.
Most of these lakes are in Amravati, Nagpur and Marathwada.
Till Wednesday, most places in the state, including Mumbai, did not receive enough rainfall, which is a cause for concern for the state government. However, officials ruled out any situation close to the 2004 drought in the state.
“The sowing of the crops will begin with the first rains and so we will have to wait and watch,” said Additional Chief Secretary (Relief and Rehabilitation) M Ramesh Kumar. “But considering the mathematical projections from different agencies along with the rains hitting Mumbai now, I think we will sail through.”
The state feels that delayed rains will mean a delay in commencement of agricultural activities, however, considering the previous trends of low rainfall in Nagpur, Amravati and Marathwada, it still remains a concern.
The state has already taken steps to ensure that there are no major problems because of water shortage.
“A major concern was providing fodder for which we have opened up fodder depots in the entire state where it can be purchased at subsidised rates,” said SC Mohanty, director, Maharashtra State Disaster Management Cell.
And is the state cutting on irrigation supplies for providing drinking water?
“Drinking water is our first priority. An instruction to provide water in such areas is in existence where we have been providing it through tanker deployment,” Kumar said.