Monsoon drenches most states suffering drought
Updated: Jun 24, 2016 08:51 IST
NEW DELHI: A long dry spell, which sparked back-to-back drought, has officially ended with the monsoon rains drenching some of the worst-affected areas this week.
Parched regions that received good rains over the past few days include Rayalaseema, coastal Andhra Pradesh, north-interior Karnataka, northern Madhya Pradesh, parts of eastern UP, Odisha and most of Maharashtra.
Last year’s dry spell was triggered by India’s worst monsoon in six years, which was 14% below normal. The drought shriveled crops, denting sugar, pulses, rice and oilseeds output, among other crops. Farm incomes took a hit, impacting demand in other sectors of the economy.
“The main drought-hit areas have got their first full monsoon rainfall this week, ending the drought. Soil moisture levels and sowing are improving,” a farm ministry official said.
For instance, Maharashtra’s Marathwada region, a cotton belt, recorded 40% deficient rainfall by the time the 2015 monsoon season ended. Eastern UP was worst with 47% below-normal monsoon. Paddy-growing north-interior Karnataka’s deficit was 29%. Karnataka was one of the first states to declare a drought in September last year.
At the end of last year’s wet season, 39% of the country’s area ended up with deficient rainfall, 55% received normal rainfall and 6% received excess rainfall.
According to information given in Parliament, 266 districts in 11 states declared a drought and central assistance of 13,497 crore was approved for relief.
Beginning this week, the rain-bearing system activated over some of the driest parts, covered most of the country barring four states and made up for the delay by penetrating Uttar Pradesh slightly ahead of time, but the initial delay has meant the rains were still 18% deficient.
The rains have resumed over southern states, such as Kerala, after their usual pause.
The next surge should see the rains move into Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab, towards June-end.
The Met has forecast heavy precipitation over the four to five days, which should bridge the rain gap significantly.
A heavy rainfall warning has been sounded for Friday (June 24) for eastern Uttar Pradesh, parts of West Bengal, Sikkim, coastal Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.
On June 25, heavy rains are predicted for Konkan and Goa, coastal Karnataka and Uttarakhand. On June 26, three northern states — Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand — will get the heaviest showers since the monsoon’s start. Summer sowing of rice has picked pace in most southern and eastern states, the official added.
The rains are vital for Asia’s third-largest economy as they are an important source of drinking water, power generation and agriculture. Two-thirds of Indians depend on a farm-linked income.
A monsoon-boosting windcloud weather pattern, known as the Madden–Julian Oscillation, one which sweeps the tropics and dramatically enhances precipitation, is likely to push to the monsoon into a surplus state in July.