NEW DELHI: Amidst fears of drought, monsoon hit Kerala Friday, after a delay of four days from the normal date of June 1. The Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh had a review meeting on the efforts being made to face the deficient monsoon.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) announced that the southwest monsoon had set in over Kerala. IMD also stated that conditions were favourable for the southwest monsoon to advance further into some parts of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, some more parts of Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra Pradesh, and northeast India in the next 48 hours.
“It has further advanced into entire south Arabian Sea, some more parts of Central Arabian Sea, entire Lakshadweep area and Kerala, some parts of coastal and southern interior Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, remaining parts of southeast Bay of Bengal and some parts of central and northeast Bay of Bengal,” said the IMD, adding that there had been fairly widespread to widespread rainfall during the last 48 hours.
After the review meeting, Singh said all the ministries were well-prepared to handle drought and had nominated a nodal officer for it. The met department downgraded its prediction to deficit rainfall from normal and said that northwest India would be most affected.
Allaying fears, Singh said that the slightly deficient prediction for this region (northwest) would not have any adverse impact as the area under irrigation in this area was very high and the status of reservoirs in this area was also very encouraging. Northwest region comprises mainly the grain-producing states of Punjab and Haryana.
The Union Agriculture Minister said the Ministry for Power had also prepared a contingency plan for supply of adequate electricity.
The Ministry of Fertilizer had already released 90 lakh tone fertilizers till May 2015 to the States as against 60 lakh tones demanded by the States. This is part of the advance preparedness for the kharif crop.
“It is a matter of satisfaction for the farmers that the northwest, where there is a probability of deficient rainfall, has sufficient irrigation avenues available now,” he added.
The minister also highlighted the need to be prepared with contingency plans for kharif, in case there was below normal monsoons.
A Crisis Management Plan (CMP) for drought 2015 was in place while States had been directed to expedite preparations of state-level ‘Management Plan on Drought’.