The prediction of international weather forecasters that India may get below normal rainfall during the ongoing Monsoon is yet to reach the State government. While the Union agriculture ministry seems to be hurrying its steps to avoid a drought-like situation in the country that was seen in the year 2009, the State government does not even have information about the likely drought that may hit the State in case of low rainfall.
Global weather forecasters’ such as Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at the Columbia University, predicted that there was little chance of India getting above-normal monsoon this year.
This was lent further credence by the UK’s meteorological office, in its long-range global weather forecast. In its report, the agency said that the chance of India getting above-normal rainfall during the entire four-month period of July-September, popularly known as Kharif season, is only 40 per cent.
Speaking to Postnoon in an exclusive interview today, agriculture minister Kanna Laxminarayana said that the government was not aware of the predictions of the international weather forecasters but was quick to add that they were being cautious following reports from the Indian meteorological department (IMD).
“We have not received any such advisory from the Union agriculture ministry so far. On our part, we are mostly relying on local weather forecasters who say that the State will receive rains in the first week of July,” he said. The minister added that they were advising the farmers of rain-deficient areas to opt for alternative crops instead of wasting their valuable time.
“We are promoting the concept of alternative crops where there is low rainfall. I am again appealing to the farmers through your newspaper to opt for alternative crops,” he said.
No contingency Plan
On the other hand, the State does not have any contingency plan in place to tackle the situation in case of drought. “We don’t have any specific budget for a contingency plan. We are also not getting any funds from the Centre. But if the need arises, we will definitely come to the rescue of the farmers. In the past we provided `1,800 crore to farmers towards input subsidy without any budgetary provision. This time also we will do the same thing,” Laxminarayana asserted.
According to the minister, it was too early to think about a contingency plan as the sowing of seeds has just started in many districts across the State. The minister hoped that the state would receive normal rainfall in coming days and asked the farmers to pray for normal rainfall.
“Lets hope for the best instead of being pessimistic,” Laxminarayana said.