M A I N   N E W S

States alerted on poor Monsoon this year
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 28
Amid reports that El Nino weather pattern could affect the crucial monsoon this year, the Centre has asked states to be fully prepared ahead of the upcoming kharif sowing season.

Agriculture Secretary Ashish Bahuguna advised states to be fully geared up to meet any eventuality in the wake of erratic rains at a conference for consultations on preparedness for the sowing season.

The southwest monsoon starts in June and its progress triggers the sowing of kharif crops. Considering that 55% of the country’s agricultural land depends on monsoon, poor rains can affect lakhs of farmers.

The government has prepared a contingency plan for over 500 districts. It will provide the first point of reference for checking actions to be taken. Local action will be fine-tuned with inputs from scientists.

Agriculture Commissioner JS Sandhu said, “Karnataka, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have a higher frequency of drought and need to be prepared with sufficient seed of short-duration kharif varieties.”

Well-irrigated regions in states such as Punjab and Haryana may not be as affected, but poor monsoon impacts ground water and reservoir levels and also the subsequent rabi season. Putting pressure on drinking water resources, poor rains escalate power consumption and bills

The El Nino (Spanish word for boy) weather pattern can trigger drought in some parts of the world while causing flooding in others. It is a warming of sea surface temperatures (SST) in the Pacific, mostly Central, and is known to usually recur every four years.

Last time, it affected the monsoon in 2009, the year that saw the worst drought in four decades. The past three years (2011-2013) have been good in monsoon terms.

El Nino shadow looms; Dry spell feared

  • India should remain prepared for delayed onset of monsoon and a prolonged dry spell in 2014, say experts
  • The Centre has told states to be fully geared up for any eventuality in the wake of an erratic monsoon
  • The IMD is keeping a close watch on El Nino’s development and will give its first forecast in the second week of April





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