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Severe drought likely in Gulbarga district Monsoon Matters

T.V. Sivanandan

There is shortfall of 159.02 mm of rainfall from January to July; only 20.36 mm of rainfall in July


Crops sown in 3.64 lakh hectares in the district are withering because of deficient rainfall

189.58 mm of rainfall recorded from January to July 13 as against 347.96 mm last year




Waiting for rain: Parched agricultural fields in Sannur village in Gulbarga taluk speak volumes about the effect the failure of the monsoon has had on people in Gulbarga District.

Gulbarga: The spectre of severe drought stares the perennially drought-prone Gulbarga district and if the rains continue to play truant, the district is likely to face severe drinking water shortage both in the rural and urban areas.

The continued dry spell from mid-June till date has led to the moisture stress in majority of the taluks in the district and a large percentage of the sown crop in 3.64 lakh hectares in the district is withering. “If there are no rains in the next two days, there is little or no hope for the farmers to save the sown crop in the district,” said senior officials in the Department of Agriculture.

Although the monsoon in the district this year began with the early showers in the first week of June, later there has been an extended dry spell. Encouraged by the early onset of monsoon, farmers in the district took up sowing operations and completed sowing operations in 43 per cent area of the targeted 8.51 lakh hectares fixed for the khariff season. Now the farmers who had invested in the khariff crops, particularly the cash crops like green gram, black gram, sesamum and red gram are an anxious lot with no idea as to how much loss they might have to suffer because of deficient rainfall.

While the farmers completed sowing of green gram in 71,733 hectares out of the total targeted 80,000 hectares, the sown crops are in a precarious condition due to moisture stress in majority of agriculture fields. The same is true with black gram that was sown in 33,271 hectares out of the targeted 76,400 hectares of land. Sesamum crop was sown in 10,301 hectares of land as against the targeted area of 38,000 hectares.

Now the only hope now for farmers is the red gram, the staple crop of the district among the pulses and sunflower among the oilseeds.

Although there is still some more time left for farmers to take up sowing of red gram, if there is no rainfall in July, then it would be difficult to take up sowing of this crop also. Immediate rainfall is necessary to save the red gram crop that was sown in more than 1.55 lakh hectares as against the targeted 3.6 lakh hectares of land. In the rains continue to play truant, then this crop will wither and the farmers would have to face a huge loss.

Water shortage

Sources in the zilla panchayat said the situation on the drinking water front was also not good as there is a steep fall in the groundwater level. The price of fodder has also shot up in the district due to deficiency of rainfall.

Officials of the Department of Agriculture said that the district had a shortfall of 159.02 mm rainfall this year from January to July. During the month of July, the district should have received 158.2 mm of rainfall but the actual rainfall recorded was only 20.36 mm. The district has received only 189.58 mm of rainfall from January to July 13, 2009. The normal average rainfall during the same period is 348.6 mm. Last year the district recorded 347.96 mm of rainfall during the same period.

Details

Following are the details of the rainfall recorded in the district during the month of July till date (normal rainfall mentioned within brackets): Afsalpur 10.1 mm (115 mm), Aland 62.3 mm (158 mm), Chincholi 50.3 mm (207 mm), Chitapur 10.4 mm (147 mm), Gulbarga 14.2 mm (143 mm), Jewargi 49.9 mm (142 mm), Sedam 18 mm (201 mm), Shahapur No rainfall (167 mm), Surpur 3 mm (128 mm), Yadgir 15.4 mm (174 mm).

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