Delayed and deficient rains this season, coupled with a drinking water and agrarian crisis have left Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region in the lurch.
The Amravati division comprising Amravati, Yavatmal, Akola, Buldana and Washim talukas are particularly affected, with only 427 tankers supplying drinking water. Prior to the arrival of monsoon, the number of tankers was 553. Only 63 per cent of sowing has been completed so far, as compared to 100 per cent achieved last year, according to Amravati’s Joint Director for Agriculture, Subhash Nagare.
Nagare added: “We expect the sowing to be completed by July 20, provided we get rainfall over the next five-six days.”
Till date, Amravati has received 74 per cent rainfall whereas Nagpur division got 77 per cent.
Nagpur Meteorological department Deputy Director-General ML Sahu warned that rains would be “sporadic over isolated places over the next five days.” He said, “Since there is no system that could bring rain over the Bay of Bengal, further predictions are not possible at this juncture.”
However, Sahu added, “The end-of-season prediction for entire central India is 100 per cent rainfall.”
Amravati division has about 40 lakh hectare cultivable area with cotton, soybean and other pulses being dominant crops.
Nagpur division comprises Nagpur, Wardha, Chandrapur, Bhandara, Gondia and Gadchiroli district with 19.27 lakh hectare cultivable area with the paddy which is the dominant crop covering nearly 7.64 lakh hectares.
Since paddy needs water-logging for transplantation of the nursery saplings, good amount of rainfall is needed. “We should have had 50 per cent sowing completed by this time but it remains at 39 per cent due to a shortfall in rains. Paddy transplantation remains stagnant at 5 per cent as against the ideal 30 per cent,” said Nagpur Joint Director for Agriculture Ravi Bhosale.