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This June is the driest in India in 10 years

June 28, 2014 10:36 IST

This June is the driest in India in 10 years



Till Thursday, the country had received 41 per cent less June rainfall than normal -- the scantiest in a decade and one of the rarest occasions when the shortfall in the month was more than 30 per cent -- private weather forecaster Skymet said in its daily weather forecast on Friday.

Even as the southwest monsoon continued to remain sluggish over many parts of central and western India, Skymet said: "The month of June has been the driest in India in a decade."

According to the India Meteorological Department, of the 36 meteorological subdivisions, the rainfall in the month was excessive in five, normal in six, deficient in 11 and scanty in 14 subdivisions. However, a ray of hope was seen in the official weather forecaster's expectation of a monsoon revival from July 6. What is also bolstering this hope is that the fear of the El Niño phenomenon, which could have caused a major drop in southwest monsoon, is showing signs of waning.

However, the adverse effect of a low rainfall in June and its long absence in many parts of India are also becoming apparent. Data from the department of agriculture showed kharif crops were sown on 13.15 million hectares till June 27, which was 34.55 per cent less than the area covered in the corresponding period last year. Worse, the area covered during the period this year was around 13 per cent less than normal acreage -- the average of the past five years.

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Image: A farmer removes dried plants from his parched paddy field at Narimanpura village, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad
Photographs: Amit Dave/Reuters


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Sowing of rice, pulses and coarse cereals, grown mainly in eastern, central, western and northern parts of the country, were the worst hit. On Wednesday, the government had announced the procurement prices for these summer crops for 2014-15 would be 1-4 per cent higher than those last year.

But there was some comfort on water level in the country's 85 important reservoirs. At 38.02 billion cubic metres as on June 26, the water level was 25 per cent of these reservoirs' total live storage capacity.

"The storage position this year is better than last year and the average of the past 10 years," an official statement said. Except southern India, water level in reservoirs of almost all other parts of the country was better than last year.

Image: Muslim children pray for rain on a street in Mumbai
Photographs: Reuters
Tags: India

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