Rain Deficit Triggers Fears of Drought in Central and Eastern UP, Kharif Crop Impacted
Representational Image. Image Courtesy: Pxfuel
Lucknow: Ravi Singh, a farmer in Prayagraj, is desperately waiting for rain to irrigate his fields. Looking at the gloomy clouds, he says he hoped for rain in the last week of June, but there is no relief even when July is about to end.
Singh, whose paddy saplings are ready for sowing, is more worried than others as the crop needs good rains. The Kharif crop, too, is getting affected due to the absence of rain.
"July is almost over, but where is the rain?" asked a distraught Singh.
Dharmesh Gaur, a farmer of Ghorawal village in Sonbhadra district, has been unable to sow his 50 bigha holding and is worried that the paddy he sowed in 40 bigha will fail if it doesn't rain soon.
"Traditional water sources have dried up. Only 10-15% of farming has been done so far. If the situation remains the same, that, too, will dry up. The situation is horrible, but the government is not paying heed."
Suresh, a farmer in Deoria, too, is facing a similar difficulty.
"It hasn't rained for more than five weeks now, and dams and wells are empty. I am struggling to irrigate my paddy crops in 20 bighas."
He added, "Despite the clouds often covering the sky, there are no rains. We, farmers, feel helpless as there is no other way to bring rain for irrigation. Therefore, we are all praying together to please the rain god."
Even when heavy rains continue to batter several parts of western Uttar Pradesh, the farmers in central Uttar Pradesh and Purvanchal or eastern Uttar Pradesh, are still waiting for the rain for irrigation. Barely any rains this time, standing crops are getting destroyed.
As per the data of the India Meteorological Department (IMD), central UP has recorded 191.8 mm against the average normal rainfall of 239.8 mm, Bundelkhand 149.4 against 247.1 mm and eastern UP has recorded 161.6 mm against normal rainfall of 281.4 mm.
Uttar Pradesh received only 170 millimetres (mm) of rainfall between June 1 and July 29, 50% less than the normal rainfall of 342.8 mm.
Of the total 75 districts of the state, 41 recorded deficient rainfall, while only seven recorded normal rainfall during this period.
These 41 districts have received deficient rainfall from the onset of monsoon in the first week of June till July 28, the India Meteorological Centre Lucknow data showed. The majority of these districts fall in the eastern UP region.
The lack of rain has worried the farmers preparing for their Kharif plantation of paddy and maize. Menthol is another crop which is likely to suffer damage due to less rain, experts say.
The less rainfall is reflected in the drop in Kharif cropping across the state. As per the state agriculture department, maize has been sown on 621 hectares out of 799 hectares. Millet has been sown on only 532 hectares out of 1000 hectares.
15 Districts With 60-80% Less Rainfall
Hamirpur, Shravasti, Lucknow, Shamli, Hathras, Kanpur Dehat, Varanasi, Ballia, Hardoi, Amethi, Sant Kabir Nagar, Jhansi, Ghazipur, Kanpur Nagar and Azamgarh.
17 Districts With 40-60%, i.e. Very Less Rainfall
Agra, Sonbhadra, Lalitpur, Ghaziabad, Maharajganj, Jaunpur, Ayodhya, Pratapgarh, Sitapur, Bhadohi, Rae Bareli, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Basti, Chitrakoot, Sultanpur, Gonda and Mahoba.
Nine Districts With Less Than 40% Rainfall: Drought Conditions
Prayagraj, Banda, Mau, Pilibhit, Kushinagar, Deoria, Mirzapur, Chandauli and Kaushambi.
Considering the weak monsoon, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath held a review meeting on Friday with senior officials and asked them to stay prepared for any situation. The CM directed officials to ensure that water levels in canals are maintained, and steps be taken to help farmers. However, as per the rules, the government will not be able to declare a drought till at least August.
Meanwhile, the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) demanded that the government declare these districts drought-hit. Along with several farmer association delegates, AIKS visited various parts of the district and inspected the "dried up" crops. They urged the government to construct irrigation projects in the district to store rainwater.
While the farmers in eastern and central UP are worried about their paddy, arhar and maize crop, in western UP, the farmers worry about their sugarcane crops.
"In the absence of monsoon and excessive heat, sugarcane has wilted. Most of the farmers cannot afford to pay the charges of tube wells to irrigate sugarcane crops. If the situation remains the same, sugarcane produce will be affected badly," Naresha Tomar, a farmer in Meerut, told NewsClick.
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