Free Press Journal

254/380 talukas in Maharashtra stare at another drought

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Mumbai: Over half of Maharashtra is reeling under drought conditions as 254 out of 380 talukas of the state have received average and below average rainfall so far in this monsoon season. Most of these areas are in the Marathwada and Vidarbha regions, and the government is preparing to notify the condition after August 15 if the rain still plays truant.

Data released by the agriculture department shows that only 61 talukas have received above-average rainfall up to August 8, while 51 talukas have received between 25 to 50 per cent rainfall. Pandurang Fundkar, minister for agriculture, told Free Press Journal, “Most of the areas that have received below-average rainfall are in the Marathwada and Vidarbha regions. Among them, western Vidarbha and the adjacent districts of Marathwada are the worst affected.”

Fundkar admitted the situation was serious. “Our department is now planning to start the survey of crops in the affected regions. We will take a decision on what’s to be done if there are no rains,” the minister said. Weathermen had predicted a break in monsoon over Maharashtra for about a week at the end of July. However, the Marathwada and Vidarbha regions have been witnessing dry spells for more than a month now.


Maharashtra is used to such droughts, but the rain god had been rather kind in the last two years. Good rains led to bumper crop and that created a new problem: the supply was more than the demand and prices of farmers’ produce crashed. A spate of farmer suicides followed, forcing the state government to announce a loan waiver scheme for distressed farmers. If the rains fail this monsoon, the government will have to come to the aid of the farmers once more.

GROUND REPORT

Most of the drought affected areas are in the Marathwada and Vidarbha regions of the state and the government is preparing to notify the condition after August 15 if the rain still plays truant.

Data released by the agriculture department shows that only 61 talukas have received above-average rainfall up to August 8, while 51 talukas have received between 25 to 50 per cent rainfall.

The agriculture department is planning a survey of crops should the dry spell continue. It will then take a decision on future moves.

Maharashtra is used to droughts, but the rain god had been rather kind in the last two years. Good rains led to bumper crop and that created a new problem: the supply was more than the demand and prices of farmers’ produce crashed.

A spate of farmer suicides followed, forcing the state government to announce a loan waiver scheme for distressed farmers.