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Govt declares Madhya Pradesh drought-hit
Published on 9 Jul. 2009 11:35 PM IST
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It’s official. Madhya Pradesh is the first state to be declared drought-hit. With the rains playing truant, the central Indian state is facing an acute shortage of water forcing the Government to announce that 152 tehsils in 41 districts are drought-hit. With 60 per cent of the total cultivable area of 140 million hectares being rain-fed, the water shortage has raised concerns about an impact on agriculture and economy. On Sunday, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar had said that there was “no reason for concern”. “The major sowing period is between July and August,” he said, adding that the country’s foodgrain production is likely to be the same as that of last year. The Agriculture Secretary had met agriculture secretaries of states like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and UP to discuss strategy. And it’s not just Madhya Pradesh - the National Capital too has a water problem and even Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit says we should “just bear with it”. A special namaz called the Namaz-e-Istasqa will be offered at Bhopal on July 3 at the Eidgah for early showers while a yagna was performed recently. On Thursday, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan undertook a padyatra from Gopal Mandir to the famous Mahakaleshwar temple, praying for rains in the state. Tracking rainfall Rain or thundershowers are expected at a few places in Uttar Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Himachal Pradesh and east Rajasthan. The rest of northwest India could experience isolated rain or thunderstorms. Konkan, Goa and central Maharashtra will also witness rain or thundershowers at most places. Many places in Marathwada, Gujarat region and Saurashtra will get rains during the next 24 hours and according to the predictions of the Met Department, there will be an increase in the intensity of showers thereafter. There might be isolated rain or thundershowers over the Kutch region during the next 24 hours after which the intensity is expected to increase and if that happens, then Sharad Pawar’s confidence that there will be no drought in India will not be misplaced. Water shortage A weak monsoon this year has been causing water shortage across the country, though the Met Department is hopeful that the situation will improve over the next few days. India has received 36 per cent less rains overall this year. The worst affected are West Uttar Pradesh which recorded 80 per cent less rainfall than normal since June 1, followed by Delhi which recorded a shortfall of 79 per cent. The situation is also serious in Punjab and Haryana which received 71 per cent and 62 per cent less rains respectively. Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh has now officially declared that the state is headed for a drought with almost no rains and a severe summer this year.

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