Amid floods elsewhere, drought threatens Maharashtra

Data obtained from the Agriculture Department shows that almost half of the revenue circles in the state have received below 75 per cent of the average rainfall so far this year.

Published: 17th August 2017 08:35 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th August 2017 08:35 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

MUMBAI: Nearly half of Maharashtra is reeling under severe drought. Data obtained from the Agriculture Department shows that almost half of the revenue circles in the state have received below 75 per cent of the average rainfall so far this year.

Of the total 2,064 revenue circles of the state, 1,235 have received rainfall below 75 per cent.  While 469 circles have received below 50 per cent of average rains, in 44 circles the rainfall is below 25 per cent of the normal average, data released by the department says. Revenue circles with least rainfall this year are primarily in northern Maharashtra, eastern Marathwada and western Vidarbha.

“The dry spell has entered the fourth week. Though there are reports of some rains from Marathwada in the past couple of days, if the rains don’t continue, it may lead to crop loss,” a senior official from the agriculture department said here on Wednesday.

The officer, however, pointed out that there is no taluka in the state that has received below 25 per cent of the average rainfall till now. This means that the rainfall is severely short of normal average only in certain pockets.

In Amaravati division of Western Vidarbha, the average rainfall this year was 21 per cent against, compared to 55 per cent in 2016, the official added.

Leader of opposition in the state legislative council Dhananjay Munde, who hails from Beed district of Marathwada on Wednesday lashed out at the government for the grim situation.

CM Devendra Fadnavis, who reviewed the rainfall situation on Monday, directed the authorities to link Aadhaar numbers with land records of farmers while transferring drought relief.

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