Even as the Southwest Monsoon season begins to wind down, states such as Maharashtra, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh Uttar Pradesh are now staring at the possibility of a drought.
Hindustan Times reported that around 59 percent of India has received substantially less rainfall as compared to previous years, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) data showed.
India’s food bowl states of Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh — these states account for almost half of the country’s food production — received up to 36 percent less rainfall than the long-term average rainfall.
Drought conditions also loom over the chronically distress-prone areas of Vidarbha, Marathwada, Bundelkhand and Telangana, according to the Hindustan Times report.
According to a report in The Times of India, with the monsoon heading for a sub-par performance — this season has seen around 6.2 percent less rainfall than a normal season — over 235 districts across the nation could be facing the prospect of a drought.
A majority of these districts lie in the hinterland: Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Vidarbha. UP, Haryana and MP are the hardest hit states, showing rain deficits of 31 percent, 28 percent and 25 pecent, respectively, according to The Times of India report.
According to Skymet, while the east and North East continue to receive normal amount of rainfall, the North West, central and South India have received 8 percent, 10 percent and 3 percent less rainfall than normal.
Situation gloomy for Central India, scientists point to climate change
According to a report in The Indian Express, Central India — comprising two of the country’s largest states, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh — will likely remain rainfall-deficient this season.
Rainfall data until 12 September by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) show that Central India remains rain-deficient by 10 percent, the highest among the broad regions of the country. “This year, rainfall was largely localised rather than being distributed over a region. Heavy rains occurred in a short period of time, within two to four days, which was followed by a prolonged dry spell over the same region,” said D Sivananda Pai, head, climate research division at IMD told The Indian Express. “This is a typical break-monsoon type, attributed to be one of the features associated with climate change.”
The last 24 hours has seen vigorous rainfall over South Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Vidarbha, Marathwada, Konkan and Goa, north and coastal Karnataka and parts of Gujarat. Major rainfall was received in Mumbai (103 mm), followed by Adilabad (94 mm) and Aurangabad (82 mm), according to Skymet.
Chances of ‘severe drought’ virtually nil, says government official
But a senior government official, speaking to the Financial Express contended that only 58 of the country’s 550 districts with sizeable farmland were witnessing “moderate drought-like conditions” and added that the possibility of severe drought emerging in any district is virtually nil”.
The IMD on Wednesday said that monsoon has recently been “vigorous” over Marathwada and “active” over Odisha, West Madhya Pradesh, Madhya Maharashtra and Vidarbha. The areas that are still rain-deficient include Vidarbha, eastern and western Uttar Pradesh, western and eastern Madhya Pradesh and coastal Karnataka, according to the Financial Express report.