Friday, July 31, 2009
Himachal Pradesh Thursday decided to request the central government for help in the face of drought-like conditions following the lowest monsoon rainfall of the past 20 years.
'The entire hill state is passing through drought-like conditions. All the 12 districts have experienced deficient rainfall from October 2008 to July this year,' an official statement said.
The state cabinet convened a special meeting and decided to request the central government to provide special grants under the drought relief measures.
Shimla's meteorological office director Manmohan Singh told IANS: 'The overall monsoon situation is still precarious. Large parts continue to be deficit. The deficiency in the cumulative rainfall from June 1 till July 23 was 51 percent in 10 districts, except Kinnaur and Sirmaur.
'This is the lowest monsoon rainfall in the state in the past 20 years. It is alarming too as more than 80 percent of the horticulture and agricultural activities are rain-fed,' the weather official said.
* Weekly rains deficient to scanty in 19 out of 36 zones
* June 1-July 29 rainfall 19 pct below normal (Adds details and background)
- India's monsoon rains were 18 percent below normal in the week to July 29, the weather office said on Thursday, renewing fears of deficient crops after rainfall had been above normal for the previous two weeks.
Rains in the past week were below normal in the southern states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, where corn is grown, while in Uttar Pradesh, the leading cane producer, rains were scant in the eastern part but normal in its western districts.
Total rainfall in the country since the beginning of June was 19 percent below average, pulled down by the driest June in 83 years, data from the India Meteorological Department showed.
The June-September rains are the main source of irrigation for Indian farms and are crucial for Asia's third-largest economy.
The weather department said all 36 weather zones received rains during the week, but the weekly rainfall was deficient to scanty in 19 zones.
The data showed rainfall was 1 percent above normal in India's central region, the main soybean producing belt, while the rains over cane and paddy growing north west region were still 32.5 percent below normal.
Source:: Reuters India
Shortfall: Rainfall in July, the key monsoon month, was close to its 50-yr average of 27cm, IMD says.Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters
Better rainfall in the latter half of July was not sufficient to bridge the rainfall deficit, implying that agricultural sowing, especially for rice, would not pick up. Any shortfall in foodgrain production could put further pressure on food prices.
“July has seen typical drought conditions,” said Madhavan Rajeevan, former director of forecasting with the India Meteorological Department (IMD). “The next week is unlikely to see improved activity, and by then sowing would have pretty much drawn to a close. By September, the effects of El Nino would be evident. So in a sense, the best is far behind us.” El Nino is a weather phenomenon characterized by a warming of the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean waters and can disrupt normal monsoon patterns.
Rainfall during July, India’s most important monsoon month, was close to its 50-year average of 27cm, the country’s official forecaster said on Thursday. IMD, in the last week of June, had predicted July rainfall for the country to be around 24cm. “We got excess rain in July and we are still optimistic that August should fall within our prediction of 101% of its monthly average,” said Ajith Tyagi, director of IMD.
India’s below-normal monsoon has caused a significant decline in the area under foodgrain cultivation, a trend that, if it lasts, could trigger a rise in food prices. Food price inflation based on the Wholesale Price Index for the week ended 18 July was 11.7%, while the overall inflation rate continued to contract at 1.54%.
Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar had told the Rajya Sabha last Friday that the area sown under rice in the year as on 17 July fell to 11.46 million ha, from 14.52 million ha in 2008, a fall of 21%.
Farmers have begun substituting foodgrain with cash crops, which require less water. Overall, the area under the summer kharif crop cultivation contracted by 8%.
Experts warn that this is among the first signs of the negative impact of the monsoon rainfall’s failure on the country’s agricultural gross domestic product, but say a conclusive picture will emerge only by January.
The June-September monsoon accounts for nearly 80% of the annual rainfall and is vital for the economy, being the main source of water for agriculture, which accounts for around 17% of India’s economy.
The current year’s monsoon is considered to be crucial for the economy as buoyant rural consumption has been a key driver of growth amid an economic downturn. While the country has sufficient food stocks to tide over any crisis this year, the rise in food prices that will follow a poor monsoon and, consequently a poor harvest, could wreak havoc on the economy.
A report by credit ratings firm Moody’s expressed concern that a poor monsoon may slow India’s economic recovery. “The monsoon problem is unlikely to be strong enough to derail India’s economic recovery, but it could drag on the pace. India’s rural population accounts for a large share of total consumption... Therefore, a sizeable slowdown in rural spending will limit overall consumption growth,” the research arm of Moody’s said in its latest report.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
If the monsoon is good, judged by the total quantum and distribution over the whole season, the crops are good. Food supplies then become ample and the whole nation is happy. On the other hand, if the monsoon fails either in total quantum or its distribution thereof, the entire burden of suffering falls on the farmer.
Non-farmers and the government that represents them are cagey and niggardly in coming to their help. If the government does come forward at all to give some kind of help, that does not even begin to make up for the losses suffered by the farmers.
This was the impression one was left with after the submissions of the Minister for Agriculture, Mr Sharad Pawar, to the Cabinet and, a day later, to the Rajya Sabha in response to a calling attention motion on the drought situation in the country. The Minister had earlier made public statements outside Parliament that there was no serious threat of famine, notwithstanding the delay in the arrival of the monsoons.
In his submission to the Cabinet, the Minister admitted that the rainfall was deficient and that it was expected to affect kharif crops. His recommendations to the Cabinet for providing relief included a suggestion that the committee overseeing the National Calamity Contingency Fund (NCCF) be empowered to take final decisions regarding drought relief and relaxation, depending upon the needs of the affected States.
The NCCF would have done its assessment and taken appropriate measures to help the States, but by then half the country would be in the grip of drought, or under the shadow of famine.
To give only an example of how these things work, the Government of Bihar contacted the Agriculture Minister, who in turn responded in bureaucratic fashion, demanding specific details of the regions affected and promising a visit by a central inter-ministerial Group for assessment of the situation.
Uttar Pradesh, yet another State under a non-UPA government , has been unable to establish contact at the highest level. This makes little sense. Mr Pawar should know, as he is a member of the NCCF committee. When he made his presentation to the Cabinet, Manipur, Assam and Jharkhand had announced a situation of drought.
Some of Mr Pawar’s other recommendations are: That the Centre accept to share an unspecified part of the diesel subsidy to agriculture; that the Power Ministry grant an additional 100 MW from the Central pool to farmers in Punjab and Haryana for the next 15 days; and that the terms of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme be expanded to help agricultural labour.
The recommendations of the Minister do not amount even to superficial first-aid, when farmers are actually suffering from a grievous injury, because of the tantrums of nature. However, the worst was still to come.
In reply to the calling attention motion in the Rajya Sabha, the Minister announced that though the total crop would be affected there was no need to fear any shortages of grain. Mr Pawar categorically asserted that the food position was quite comfortable as the country had sufficient stocks for the next 13 months.
Having said this, he proceeded to announce a general ban on the export of all non-basmati rice as also all varieties of wheat.
The Agriculture Minister, a self-proclaimed leader of farmers , has put the farmers in a double jeopardy. By his own admission, farmers are expected to suffer a substantial loss in crops. Still, he asserted that, “However, this will not affect the availability of food grains in the country and there were enough stocks in the kitty.”
Under these circumstances, why ban export of foodgrains? There would be time enough to go into drastic measures of this type when, in due course, food stocks get depleted. The announcement of the Minister would have a double-blow effect: subjecting the farmers to lower prices for depleted production. Would any other Union Minister have taken a comparable policy decision in his domain in comparable circumstances?
Let us imagine, for example, a situation where a labourers’ strike or power load-shedding results in reduced production in the case of an industry. Would the government have decided to ban the export of that commodity if there was a comfortable stocks situation for a whole year to come?
The Agriculture Minister avoided making any comments about the possibility of importing food. “That might trigger reactions in the international market,” he said.
The experience of the recent years shows that international traders are more savvy about the Government of India’s shopping plans than either House of Parliament. Even before Mr Pawar could admit that there was a risk of crop deficiency, dealers in the commodity futures had moved to make certain adjustments in trade dealings. Politicians can fool Indian citizens but international traders are too wily to be blinded by political smart talk.
The India Met Department said fairly widespread rainfall with isolated heavy to very heavy falls was likely along the Himalayan foothills, the North-Eastern States and parts of the plains of North-West India during the next two days.
A warning valid for the next 24 hours said that isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall was likely over West Bengal, Sikkim, East Uttar Pradesh, North Bihar, Assam, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh.
Coastal Andhra Pradesh and north coastal Tamil Nadu may gain during this phase even as East-Central India braces for a wet session over the next few days.
This is expected to materialise with the formation of a low-pressure area over the north-central Bay by the weekend, which international models say could be ‘moderately strong.’
The Noida-based National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF) has maintained its outlook for the ‘low’ with prospects of intensification.
However, international models do not indicate any dramatic rainfall over central India that could signal a revival of the monsoon.
But this may just rev up further the wet session over East and North-East India, and to some extent East-Central India. Surprise gains are also likely in parts of Andhra Pradesh, adjoining Vidarbha, east Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) continued to show the peninsular branch of a bifurcated westerly flow dipping into the equatorial Indian Ocean to the south of Sri Lanka and streaking away East into the West and Central Pacific.
This would mean that the Bay of Bengal may not host a monsoon system strong enough to attract the away-going flows until August 9 up to which forecasts were available.
This may delay a comprehensive revival of the monsoon till that date, though the other arm of the westerly flow fanning into the plains of the North may hold on gamely.
Meanwhile, a truncated offshore trough overnight got a fresh lease of life on Wednesday and reset itself from the Karnataka to the Kerala coast.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
The number of throat swab samples coming from various parts of the country and being tested for the H1N1 virus at the National Institute of
Virology (NIV) has increased twofold in the last few days.
The number, which was earlier restricted to an average 20 samples per day in June, has now jumped to around 40. Moreover, on July 27, the NIV received 90 samples on a single day the highest on a day in the last three months.
"The viral infection will subside after the monsoon. Since it is a self-resolving as well as self-limiting virus, there is no need to panic," Mandeep Chadha, deputy director of NIV, told TOI on Tuesday.
The NIV has carried out 1,000 tests in the last three months. "Of which around 60 per cent of the samples were of IT professionals," said Chadha.
"The H1N1 group of viruses proliferate more when the weather is humid and cool," said Chadha. It's an airborne virus and humidity and cool weather conditions are conducive to its survival, she said.
The spread of the swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is thought to occur in the same way seasonal flu spreads. The influenza spreads from person to person through the respiratory route. If a person already infected with the virus coughs, sneezes or even talks or sings loudly, he or she generates aerosols or droplets of saliva with virus particles in it, Chadha said.
"These particles get deposited in the respiratory tract of a nearby person, who, in turn, gets infected. These particles also get deposited on inanimate objects (called fomites) like napkins, handkerchiefs, door knobs etc. The virus can remain viable on such surfaces for a week or two. If a person touches these surfaces and then touches his or her nose, mouth or eyes, the virus can get transmitted to that person," said Chadha.
According to city-based microbiologist Siddhartha Dalvi, "Influenza epidemics in colder countries are usually seen in winter. In tropical countries like India, epidemics can be seen throughout the year. In fact, there is a propensity towards more epidemics in the monsoon. This is usually due to a combination of high humidity, relatively cooler temperatures and indoor crowding of people."
Rickshaws and cars ploughed through waist-high water in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka on Tuesday as the city received its biggest rainfall in a single July day for 60 years.
In the six hours after 01:00 am (1800 GMT Monday), 290 millimetres (11.42 inches) of rain fell, according to officials.
"It's the highest single day of rain in July since 1949," said Dhaka meteorologist Ayesha Khatun, adding that more downpours were forecast.
Six people were killed after standing on powerlines that were under the water, police told AFP.
The flooding brought the city to a standstill, with schools and offices unable to open and many of its 12 million residents stranded in their homes.
Much of Bangladesh has been experiencing drought conditions as the monsoon season, which runs from June to the end of September, has brought little rain.
Last week the government ordered free electricity for farmers to pump underground water after shortages threatened the summer rice crop, which accounts for 40 percent of food grain production.
Farmers had held special prayers this week to bring on rain to irrigate their land so that summer rice can be sown.
There are 1,200 privately set up weather stations in India, and the number is increasing- report by Archita Bhatta & Rohini Rangarajan
The companies are penalized for every weather forecast that goes wrong. In case of temperature, for example, the margin of error allowed is one degree. "We are paying a private weather company for accurate forecast data because this data could prevent losses of up to Rs 20 lakh," Jayanta Chatterjee, assistant general manager of NDPL, said. "The price of one unit of power can vary from Rs 1.5 per unit to Rs 15 per unit depending on the demand. We calculate the power required for the next day based on that forecast and buy the power when the demand is still low."
May 28 and May 30, the maximum temperature in Delhi fell from 41°C to 35°C. The cost of a unit of power also fell from Rs 5.5 to Rs 1.08. "Weather conditions play a vital role in demand forecasting," a Reliance Infrastructure official explained.
Being forewarned about the weather also helps prepare for contingencies. When Power Grid Corporation, a public transmission utility, learnt of the high probability of fog last winter through Skymet, it hired helicopters to clean the transmission lines. This helped prevent tripping caused by a combination of fog and pollution. Fog in the presence of pollutants on surface of insulators provides an alternate low resistance path, which causes flashovers and tripping of transmission lines.
The survival of several other businesses is closely linked to advance warnings regarding the weather. Oil rigs, for example. Skymet provides Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) forecast for their offshore rigs. "Along with surface weather parameters we track sea weather-wave, swell, gust, wind-for the oil company," said Jatin Singh, managing director of Skymet. The rigs have to be shut down if there is a cyclone. Otherwise, they may catch fire. Besides, ships ply to and from the rigs transporting oil; the company needs weather data to ensure the safety of these ships.
For other businesses, like weather-based crop insurance, the companies set up automatic weather stations, thus, increasing weather coverage. These stations mainly consist of sensors mounted on a pole. In contrast to manual weather stations, automatic weather stations can measure temperature, humidity, wind speed, wind direction and rainfall every hour and send the data to computers via cable or satellite.
Companies like National Collateral Management Services Limited (NCMSL) specialize in setting up automatic weather stations. The company was launched in 2004 with the support of several banks like HDFC, Bank of India and Canara Bank; IFFCO and the National Commodities and Derivatives Exchange to provide farmers with warehousing and certificate of crop quality so that they can get low-interest credit from banks. In 2004, weather-based crop insurance was introduced in India. The next year NCMSL diversified and started setting up automatic weather stations.
Srinivas Rao, vice-president, NCMSL, said the company has set up 400 weather stations across 16 states in India. It charges between Rs 1,000 and Rs 10,000 per month for the data. For data to be supplied every 10 minutes, the price is the highest: Rs 10,000 per month.
"When a company wants data for a particular place we set up stations only if an IMD station is not there. We complement the IMD," said Rao, who imports these stations from the US. Each automatic weather station costs between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 1.5 lakh, depending on the type of data required. But INGEN, a sister company of Weather Risk Management and Services, prefers to build its own stations, which comes to Rs 25,000 each.
There are 1,200 privately set up weather stations in India, and the number is increasing. Rao has orders to set up 50 more stations within July. ICICI Bank's weather-based crop insurance scheme works around weather stations. "We buy weather data like temperature, rainfall, wind speed and wind direction from IMD and private companies like NCMSL and INGEN as these help us verify our claims," said Aditya Jain of ICICI -Rural that provides crop insurance in 15 states. Once the weather conditions cross or fall short of laid down parameters for a crop, the farmer can raise a claim.
ICICI Bank has grape cultivators in Maharashtra 's Pune-Sangli-Nashik belt as clients. Grape farmers choose the crop phases they want to cover and also the location of weather station used for calculating the claim. They get weather updates from the forecasters the bank subscribes to. India 's farmers are still not direct clients of private forecasters.
Increasing unpredictability of weather is another reason private forecasters are flourishing, Anuj Khambhat, director of Weather Risk Management and Services, believes. "More farmers are availing of insurance because of frequent crop loss due to frequent changes in weather," he said. Insurance firms, therefore, need more weather stations.
News channels form another major market for weather forecasting companies. Attractively packaged weather-related data is good business. Today 70 per cent of the business generated by weather forecasting companies comes from media houses-both television and print.
"We take weather forecasts from private companies because it comes as a map with graphics, which is more suitable to us," said a Zee News executive. "There is less hassle in packaging the information at our end." If packaging drove media companies from IMD to private weather forecasting companies, power distribution companies switched mainly because private forecasters provided data more frequently. India certainly needs to improve forecasting infrastructure.
IMD's modernization plan includes increasing the density of its automatic weather stations. In 2007-08, the Centre sanctioned a Rs 950-crore plan, under which 550 automatic weather stations, 55 Doppler radars for data on clouds, and 3,600 rain gauges will be installed across the country. Of these, 125 automatic weather stations have been set up.
But even these installations will not be enough. An IMD official said regional changes are so palpable that every district needs at least four stations, which means a total of about 25,000 stations. "At present, we have installations at a distance of 100 km each. But we definitely need more," AB Majumdar, scientist at IMD Pune, said.
With more companies entering the business of weather forecasting there are fears of weather forecasting gradually turning into a paid service altogether-the US came close to privatising its public weather forecaster in the early 1980s. The mention of increasing private business to IMD officials tends to get their hackles up. For forecasting one needs historical data and current observations, Majumdar explained. "Nobody has either the infrastructure to record as many observations as IMD or the historical data," he said. "Accuracy depends on infrastructure. If somebody is claiming that he is giving better predictions than IMD, he is lying," said another official. At the same time, he added, while general forecasting is IMD's responsibility, private agencies would do a better job of providing customized forecast data.
The growth of the private industry can, however, spur IMD to upgrade its services. The World Meteorological Organisation says "no single government or agency has the necessary resources to address all the challenges on its own". It encourages public forecasters to work with international agencies, other organizations, academia, the media and the private sector to improve the range and quality of critical environmental information and services. At the same time capabilities of the national weather forecaster need to be upgraded since with changing weather pattern India 's millions of farmers will need free forecasts more than ever before.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
There have been good crops in years of poor rain and huge variations in years which have had similar rain.
The prospects of a good crop are often linked to the monsoon rainfall. A below-normal rainfall is seen as a pointer to depressed production. But, going by the past record, the relationship is not so direct; there is little direct correlation between the total monsoon rainfall and the crop output.
The monsoon is just one of the several factors that determine agricultural production. Also, in case of the monsoon, the pattern of rainfall seems more significant than the total rainfall from the point of view the crop-harvest.
Monsoon Rainfall and
(% of normal)
|Source: Rainfall From IMD: Production from Ministry of Agriculture|
The accompanying table, depicting monsoon rainfall and foodgrain production in various years, clearly indicates that even with a lower rainfall, a relatively higher crop output is possible. The reverse is equally true.
In the current decade, the monsoon rainfall as well as foodgrains output have fluctuated widely. But these fluctuations, in most cases, are far from being in tandem with each other.
The monsoon rainfall in 2000 as well as in 2001 was the same - 92 per cent of the normal. But while the foodgrain output in 2000 was merely 196.8 million tonnes, it was 212.9 million tonnes in 2001 - a good 16 million tonnes, or 8 per cent, higher than in 2000.
In 2005,the total rainfall was 99 per cent of the normal level - far better than the 92 per cent level in 2001. But the foodgrain output in 2005 turned out to be lower (208.6 million tonnes) than in 2001 (212.9 million tonnes).
Take the years 2003 and 2006. In 2003, the rainfall was 102 per cent of the normal level and the foodgrain production was 213.1 million tonnes. The year 2006, on the other hand, had a 2 per cent lower rainfall, but the production rose by nearly four million tonnes to 217.3 million tonnes.
The trend of the last two years, indeed, brings out the lack of any one-to-one correlation between the monsoon rainfall and the farm harvest even more starkly. The 2007 monsoon was bountiful with 106 per cent of the normal rainfall. The production, too, set a new record of 230.8 million tonnes.
But the following year, 2008, saw precipitation levels fall by 8 per cent - as a result, the 2008 monsoon was 98 per cent of the normal level - while the foodgrain harvest rose further to a new peak of 233.9 million tonnes (according to the the fourth advance estimates for 2008-09 released by the agriculture ministry on July 21).
Indeed, even the notion that the rainfall in July is the most critical for crop production took a beating last year. As much as a17 per cent rainfall deficiency in July 2008 had caused widespread concern about farm production. But, the output in 2008-09 has turned out to be the highest ever.
The obvious inference that can be drawn from this analysis is that even lower-than-normal monsoon rainfall is good enough for crop growth if other conditions are favourable. Apart from the quantum and distribution of the rainfall, other climatic factors like temperature and humidity are also important.
Equally significant are non-climatic factors such as the use of inputs including seeds, fertilisers, irrigation and plant protection chemicals; agronomic and crop-management practices; technology and incidence of diseases and pests. Passing a judgment on the crop outlook just on the basis of rains alone seems incorrect.
Nearly seven hours of virtual non-stop downpour initially appeared to be the much awaited answer for a sweltering city but quickly turned life into a chaotic mess.
Delhi received 70 mm of rainfall till 8.30 p.m., the highest for this season, the meteorological department said. More rains and thundershowers are expected Tuesday.
Trees were uprooted and overhead electrical cables collapsed in some areas, adding to the woes of people hit hard by huge pile-ups on roads and overflowing drains.
Among the worst hit was the newly built domestic complex at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, delaying over 15 flights. One official said: “If the rains continue, they will affect international flights too.”
Arriving and departing passengers had a tough time wading through water outside the terminal ID. An official admitted that it would take hours to clear the area of water.
The heavy showers began in the afternoon, taking most people by surprise. Within hours, there was disorder on the streets.
A Delhi Traffic Police officer told IANS that traffic lights failed in several areas, causing massive traffic jams, in some area stretching up to a kilometre. In most places, vehicles crawled.
Numerous autorickshaws broke down, their drivers blaming the low-floor gas engines for their misery.
Most buses of the state-run Delhi Transport Corp (DTC) went off the roads, causing hardships to thousands of commuters.
Even in the better organised Luyten’s Delhi, there was no respite. MPs leaving the Rajya Sabha complained their vehicles were struck for hours on overflowing streets.
Some roads and large parts of many roads simply went under water, thanks to choking drains. In some areas, drain water overflowed on to the roads.
Monday, July 27, 2009
The latest Monsoon low dissipated over the northern Arabian Sea at the weekend after crossing Sindh (Pakistan) and Gujarat (India) with some flooding outbursts. My return was too late to gather much data on these. I do know that Chhor, Pakistan, got a thorough soaking. What is more, another extreme fall of rain hit seaside Kathiawar Peninsula, Gujarat state. This would be Veraval, where at least another 35 cm fell within one 24-hour stretch ended on Friday.
We do have a record for weather data out of Veraval, although there are some flaws. Still, it seems that seasonal rainfall has reached at least 150 cm since the start of June. I believe that this would be about two-times the normal yearly rainfall. All within about five weeks.
Seasonal rainfall to date has now exceeded normal amount (the slow start notwithstanding) in Mumbai, Pune, Rajkot, Indore, Nagpur, Bhopal and even Bikaner. All are in central and western/northwestern India. Also Karachi and, most likely, a good deal of southern and eastern Sindh.
Rainfall on the Subcontinent is most deficient from northern Pakistan through northern and eastern India to Bangladesh and the nearby northeast of India. Some amounts are at only half of normal amount. Also very short on rain, as a percent of normal, is the southeast of India, which is normally a "rain shadow" during the SW Monsoon. Thus, in times of amount, the shortfall is low.
--A to the weather setting on the Subcontinent, the key shifts taking place at the start of the week are 1) the dissipation of last week`s Monsoon low over the Arabian Sea and 2) the "flattening" of high pressure aloft over southern central Asia. Then, too, there is the loss of the well-marked easterly jet stream that held sway over the Subcontinent most of last week. In short, it would seem to be the makings of "Break Monsoon", a time with more "selective" heavier falls of rain mingled with wide areas having low rainfall.
What I see of numerical forecast models leads me to foresee "break monsoon" through the end of this week, at least. Yes, there will be areas of helpful rain, but coverage will be spottier and somewhat different versus the week gone by.
One spot getting long-awaited downpours even as I write is Delhi/New Delhi. At the Safdarjang Airport, rainfall was 7 cm within a few hours -- and still counting.
Latest satellite pic shows 5pm, 27-Jul-09::
As U.P government declares most of State as Drought Hit, Today there's Heavy rain activity over Uttar Pradesh.
And more rain predicted for Tonight and thru tomorrow(28-Jul-09).
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India Meteorological Department (IMD) has still not commented on the status of the monsoon, which is anything but active or vigorous except in the north-east.
It is not a particularly strong monsoon now, a source in the Government said. Neither is it depressingly weak as is evident from the heavy rains along the Himalayan foothills and the north-east, which have been in deficit.
DIPS IN BAY
On Sunday, the axis of the seasonal monsoon trough passed through Amritsar, Ambala, Pilibhit, Raxaul, Malda, Krishnanagar and southeastwards into east-central Bay of Bengal.
The western end of the monsoon trough has shifted north of the normal, indicating a weak phase. And the westerly winds are blowing straight into the plains of north India.
But the southern end of the trough still dips into the Bay of Bengal pointing to some incipient activity, but not quite strong enough to support any significant weather over central or peninsular India.
The offshore trough along the west coast has shrunk in size and is lately discernible from the Maharashtra coast to the Karnataka coast, the IMD update said.
The monsoon has been active in Assam, Meghalaya, sub-Himalayan West Bengal, Sikkim and Gujarat during the last 24 hours ending Sunday morning.
But it was subdued over Haryana, Punjab, east Madhya Pradesh, Marathwada, Vidarbha, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, interior Karnataka and Kerala.
TO STAY WEAK
Satellite pictures on Sunday showed convective clouds over central and adjoining north-west Bay of Bengal, parts of south-east Bay of Bengal, north Andaman Sea, sub-Himalayan West Bengal, Sikkim and north-east India.
An IMD outlook for the next four to five days too said that subdued monsoon conditions are likely over central and peninsular India.
Meteorologists are now looking forward to the expected arrival of a westerly trough around mid-week , which could entrench 'weak monsoon' conditions over central and peninsular India.
The eastward (towards north-west and central India) shifting of the high-pressure region in the mid-high levels over the Middle-East would too be watched for its adverse impact on the Indian monsoon.
Model forecasts show this 'ridge' with suppressed rainfall regime poking its 'nose' from just across the border over Pakistan by August 4, but sulking at the sight of a building buzz in the Bay of Bengal.
It could not be confirmed if this likely 'low' would be strong enough to revive monsoon rains over the west coast and central India. Last week's forecasts had signalled the formation of a weak 'low' in the Bay by this time.
BUSY IN NORTH-EAST
Meanwhile, the IMD has forecast fairly widespread to widespread rainfall activity with isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall over the north-eastern states during the next four days.
Fairly widespread rainfall activity is also likely along the foothills of Himalaya and parts of plains of north-west India during this period.
A warning for the next two days said that heavy to very heavy rainfall is likely at isolated places over West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh.
Isolated heavy rainfall has been forecast over Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Extended outlook for the three days until July 31 spoke about the possibility of fairly widespread to widespread rainfall activity with isolated heavy falls over the north-eastern States.
An unusually dry start to India's monsoon season is threatening to hurt agricultural output in an economy still hugely dependent on rural areas for growth.
This file picture taken on May 14, 2009 shows an Indian farmer and his son walking over their parched paddy field on the outskirts of Agartala. (Parthajit Datta/AFP/Getty Images)
A below normal crop yield may weigh on a nascent economic recovery and push up food prices, straining the government's budget further and complicating the central bank's efforts to revive the economy without letting inflation get out of hand.
After the driest June in 83 years, four of India's 28 provinces have declared drought. Rainfall between June 1 and July 22 was 19% below normal, with the northern and northwestern regions worst hit.
The Meteorological Department forecasts rainfall in the June-September wet season at 93% of the long-term average, which is not an unusually large deviation. But the distribution so far has been extremely uneven, with some areas flooded while others have been parched.
The June-September monsoon is critical for summer-sown crops, including oilseeds, rice, and sugarcane, as 60% of fields are rain fed. If rainfall remains sporadic through September, winter crop yields, such as wheat, could also be hurt, analysts said.
This is a challenge to a country where two thirds of the 1.1 billion population live in villages and agriculture accounts for around 18% of gross domestic product. Rural demand accounts for more than half of domestic consumption so any hit to farmers' incomes would hurt demand for everything from fuel and motorcycles to soap and gold, with knock-on effects on the broader economy.
The government is alert to the risks but hasn't sounded the alarm yet. That may reflect confidence that various measures it's taken to spur economic growth in rural areas will help offset some of the shock from a weak crop.
"It's premature to draw any doomsday conclusion and it's better to wait to check if rains revive," said Arvind Virmani, chief economic adviser to the federal Finance Ministry.
But economists are starting to pencil in downside risks to their forecasts for the economy, which has remained one of the most resilient in Asia to the global credit crisis thanks to its relatively small dependence on exports.
Robust rural demand has helped cushion the blow from the global downturn, with India's economic expansion outpacing those of all its regional peers except China. Growth slowed to 6.7% in the year ended March 31 from 9% a year earlier. The government forecasts an expansion between 6.25% and 7.75% for the current year but a poor harvest could cast that projection into doubt.
"If overall rainfall deficiency falls to 20%-25%, India's gross domestic product growth could be pared to sub-5% this fiscal year," said Mridul Saggar, chief economist at Kotak Securities.
It's not clear if the dry weather so far portends more of the same. Heavy rains last Tuesday lashed the northern province of Punjab, among India's top five rice producing provinces, ending its dry spell. Last year's monsoon revived later in the season, helping farm sector output grow 1.6%.
The government forecast a 4% expansion in farm production when it unveiled its budget last month, but Morgan Stanley said low rainfall could limit growth to between 1.5% and 2%.
A slump in the agricultural sector would put pressure on the government to respond with support measures, even as it already struggles with a fiscal deficit that is estimated to swell to a record 6.8% of GDP this fiscal year.
"The government can't look away from the problem and despite the tight fiscal situation, it will try to incentivize farmers, which may swell its subsidy bill," said Shubhada Rao, Chief Economist at Yes Bank.
The Specter Of Higher Prices
A bigger hazard could be higher inflation.
The wholesale price index - the main gauge of inflation - fell 1.17% in the week to July 11 from a year earlier, a sixth straight week of declines. But economists say inflation will likely reappear in September, as elevated food prices remain sticky and a recent fuel price hike ripples through the economy.
The Reserve Bank of India expects inflation at 4% by the end of this fiscal year on March 31. Jahangir Aziz, chief India economist at JP Morgan Chase, said inflation could rise by two-to-three percentage points over that baseline forecast if the monsoon rains don't pick up.
India doesn't have a large stock of oilseeds and may have to resort to imports which may cost up to 0.4% of GDP, he said.
Scarce rains have forced some farmers to switch from rice to other crops, such as coarse cereals that can survive with less water. India's summer-sown rice acreage fell about 21% between June 1-July 17 to 11.5 million hectares from a year earlier.
Farm Minister Sharad Pawar Friday told Parliament he has banned exports of wheat and non-premium rice for over a year because of the poor monsoon.
The government may also raise procurement prices for some summer sown crops such as rice by 500 rupees per metric ton to encourage more sowing, a senior farm ministry official said.
Prices of sugar and tea have risen 30%, pulses 17%, and cereals 12% from year ago levels, said Citigroup's Rohini Malkani adding that the government may be able to head off a serious spike in food prices, given high stocks of rice and wheat from previous bumper crops and adequate foreign exchange reserves for imports.
Government-to-government grain exports from India will halt following a predicted decline in farm outputs for this year. Poor monsoon rains have meant yields may be lower than hoped.
The Indian government says they will attempt to build their own reserves to ensure food security for the nation.
"We export some 2 million tons of wheat through diplomatic channels. We will stop even that. The situation may improve but we do not want to take any risks when the question of food security of our own country is involved," said India's Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
As the south-west monsoon draws to a close, the direction of the surface winds change and the stage is set for the north-east monsoon. Much of the country is heavily dependent on the south-west monsoon for most of its annual rainfall. However, many parts of southern India also receive considerable rain from the north-east monsoon. Tamil Nadu, in particular, typically gets nearly half its annual rain during this monsoon. In fact, as much as 60 per cent of the rain that t he State’s coastal regions receive in a year is from this monsoon.
The north-east monsoon’s arrival is marked by a reversal in the direction of low-level winds over north coastal Tamil Nadu, according to Y.E.A. Raj, director of the India Meteorological Department’s regional centre at Chennai. Instead of coming from a south-westerly direction, the winds start blowing from the north-east. After the winds shift, persistent rainfall over coastal Tamil Nadu is taken to mark the monsoon’s onset.
Between 1901 and 2000, the onset of easterly winds took place between September 23 and November 1, Dr. Raj wrote in a paper published in Mausam, the IMD journal. The normal date for this change in wind direction was October 15. During the same period of one hundred years, the monsoon’s onset happened between October 4 and November 11, with the normal date for onset being October 20.
This year, the reversal in wind direction took place around October 9, according to Dr. Raj. But the easterly winds were still relatively weak and needed to strengthen for the monsoon onset to occur.
Labelling the two monsoons after the prevailing winds during those seasons gives the misleading impression that rain is brought to India by winds blowing from the south-west from June to September and, subsequently, is transported by winds from the north-east during October to December, pointed out Sulochana Gadgil of the Indian Institute of Science. It would perhaps be better to call the two seasons “summer monsoon” and “post-monsoon.”
As one can readily discern from satellite weather pictures, there is, in fact, no difference in the basic nature of the cloud systems that provide rain during the two seasons, said Dr. Gadgil. Driven by heat from the sun’s rays, a band of clouds, often hundreds of kilometres long in the east-west direction, forms over the equatorial Indian Ocean and then moves northward over the Indian subcontinent.
In the case of the summer monsoon, the cloud band ultimately settles over the plains north of Mumbai. During the post-monsoon season, the cloud band stays over the country’s southern part.
El Nino effects
A great deal of effort within the country and abroad has gone into understanding the south-west monsoon, which provides nearly 80 per cent of India’s countrywide rainfall. The north-east monsoon has, by contrast, been far less studied. But it has been known for some time that an El Nino has very different effects on the south-west and north-east monsoons. This abnormal warming of the equatorial waters of the central and eastern Pacific has often been associated with failure of the south-west monsoon. But the very same phenomenon appears to have just the opposite effect on the north-east monsoon, leading to more bountiful rain.
Research that was published this year by Pankaj Kumar of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) in Pune, K. Rupa Kumar, currently with the World Meteorological Organisation in Geneva, M. Rajeevan of the IMD’s National Climate Centre in Pune, and A.K. Sahai, also of IITM, examined the relationship between the “El Nino/Southern Oscillation” (ENSO), a term that encompasses Pacific sea surface temperatures change as well as associated atmospheric pressure variations, and the north-east monsoon between 1901 and 2000.
They found that the correlation between ENSO and the north-east monsoon had fluctuated during this period. The relationship was positive and strong from 1930 to 1950, and then became weak for the next two and a half decades. But since 1976, the relationship has picked up and become strong again. This, the scientists noted, was “diametrically opposite” to the relationship between ENSO and the south-west monsoon, which has weakened greatly in recent decades.
Moreover, north-east monsoon rainfall during the El Nino years after 1976 had on average become considerably more copious than during the period from 1950 to 1976. The scientists pointed to evidence that changes in atmospheric circulation during an El Nino were now strengthening easterly wind flows, thus bringing more moisture to the subcontinent and increasing rainfall during the north-east monsoon.
This year, however, a La Nina, the opposite of an El Nino, is developing. A La Nina is generally beneficial for the south-west monsoon but could it weaken the north-east monsoon? There have been seven La Nina years since 1950 and the north-east monsoon was within normal limits in six of them, said Dr. Pankaj Kumar. Only in 1988 did the monsoon end in a severe drought.
It is possible, however, that this year the north-east monsoon may be less bountiful than usual, according to Dr. Raj
A bad little boy (El Nino) can wreck havoc on some of the major crop of the world. The FT already has an article on the Monsoon blues that "...threatens India's farms and its economy". Many forecasters are projecting a weak or moderate El Nino, but watch out if it does become moderate or even strong. A strong El Nino could result in a severe drought in India (they have just cancelled the export of wheat from India, just in case they have crop failures and a famine). In India the drought is impacting sugar, corn and pulses already. Other countries that would be impacted by drought would be Indonesia and Malaysia, the two largest producers of palm oil, the largest source of edible vegetable oil and a large share of Wilmar's palm oil base. Lower palm oil production would increase the demand for soybean oil which right now is a major problem for crush rates. This would have a favorable impact on ADM, Cargill, Bunge and Louis Drefus, all major soybean processors in the US and South America. A drought in these countries would also impact rubber production, still critical for airplane tires and some other special uses.
Australia's wheat crop could also be impacted by a drought later this year in their spring season. Australia just increased their wheat crop estimates, but they could drop. Grain companies based in Australia could be impacted by a drop in grain production including ABB, AWB and even Viterra out of Canada who is planning to purchase ABB.
In the Americas, the fishmeal industry could be impacted by a shift away from the coast of their cool Humbolt water current which would be replaced by a warmer, less productive El Nino current. Heavy rains could be seen starting in Ecuador and extending all the way down the Peruvian coast into Chile. On the other side of the continent, Brazil could see some areas with flooding and some with drought, both impacting a needed soybean harvest for early next year.
In the US the crops would not be impacted too much by a severe El Nino, but as can be recalled from the 1997/1998 El Nino, California could be hit by strong storms with lots of rains, floods and mud slides along the southern coast. The grain belt could see a milder winter, which after the past two La Nina years would be well received and would also lower natural gas use.
So there a lot of "coulds" here that need to be watched for if that little boy becomes a bad one.
Threat of mosquitoes carriers of deadly diseases is looming large over the city. Already patients are lining up at clinics and hospitals complaining of monsoon diseases'.
Dengue and malaria are spreading tentacles. In a recent survey, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) officials found that one out of every 140 houses was breeding mosquitoes in new west zone alone. Khadia, situated in the walled city, has the highest mosquito density, the survey revealed.
City-based consultant paediatrician Dr Raju Shah says, "Cases of diarrhoea, dengue and malaria are on the rise, especially after showers in the city. These are all water-borne diseases. Kids are most vulnerable to these diseases. Those belonging to the lower-middle class are the hardest hit."
Fever, body ache and mild cold, accompanied by diarrhoea, are some of the common ailments that people are complaining about. Dr Rajesh Rajpal, a general physician, said, "In the last three to four days, the number of patients complaining of viral fever and diarrhoea have almost doubled. More than 80 per cent of cases are of viral infection and it spreads very fast as it is air borne."
And what about AMC's preparedness to tackle the situation. Medical officer, AMC, Suhas Kulkarni said, "The delayed monsoon in the city has given us ample time to carry out our anti-mosquito drive in all the municipal zones of AMC. The corporation has been conducting health awareness camps and focussing on source reduction of mosquitoes breeding areas. We collect blood samples from 19 primary health centres of AMC when a patient comes complaining about high fever."
Well, these are some of the common monsoon related makeup woes that most women face. “This is the prime season as far as skin is concerned. There is excess humidity in the air causing the skin to sweat a lot and look sticky,” says Sushma Khan, National Trainer, Skin, Lakme Salon. According to her, the best option is to look after the skin well so that the need to apply makeup is minimalised.
But hey, what’s life without a nice touch of makeup, right? And so, if you are one of those who’s facing the above mentioned problems, here’s what you need to look out for:
“Too much of foundation is one of the biggest mistakes,” says celebrity makeup artiste, Clint Fernandes. He adds that with the weather being moist and humid, foundation often tends to smudge and smear. “Instead, use a compact and touch it up when you reach your destination,” he adds.
Another common mistake women make is using the incorrect product and shade. “They don’t usually bother to check whether their foundation is water resistant,” says Anjalee Gaekwar, Sales and Education Manager, Estee Lauder, India. Meanwhile, Stafford Braganza, head makeup artist, Lancôme India advises, “Select a shade that’s closest to your natural skin undertone.” He adds that applying a compact will help to set the foundation and make it last all day long. Sushma meanwhile opines that since the main purpose of a foundation is to even out the skin tone, women with flawless skin can actually do without it. “Instead, use a concealer and then use a matt compact,” she suggests.
“One of the most common mistakes is that of not taking care of eye makeup before stepping out of the house,” says Anjalee adding that it is essential to use a waterproof eyeliner and mascara. Explaining this Stafford says, “If the mascara is not waterproof, it will smudge or run down the cheeks and that looks awful.” Sushma meanwhile, suggests using a transparent mascara and a water proof kajal pencil to leave you with zero smudges and hassle free in the rains. “Blend it in with your finger so that your eyes get a smokey effect,” she suggests. Another option Stafford says is to put away the usual dark colours and instead, go it for fresher blues, greens, aquas and magentas. “All waterproof, of course,” he adds.
“Don’t use too much of gloss. The humidity causes it to drip and that looks yucky,” says Clint. For lipsticks, the cardinal rule is to go in for the long lasting, matt effect types. “One big mistake is that women choose shades which are too dark for the monsoons. Steer clear of dark or heavy colours and go in for fresh and clean ones like marines, corals and peaches,” Stafford says. According to Sushma, it’s best to go in for a light lip pencil for the outer rim of the lip and a lip balm for the lips.
“Women tend to choose the wrong texture of blush. Remember, during the monsoons it should be soft and complement you. Always use a cream or mousse blush preferably something that is water resistant,” says Stafford. And for those who are not so inclined towards the blusher, Sushma gives an easy alternative. “Instead of a lot of blush, take a little lipstick and apply it on the cheeks and spread it out evenly,” she suggests.
Moisturiser and sunscreen
“Many women don’t use a moisturiser as they believe that if they feel their skin is oily, they do not need to. That’s absolutely wrong! Just because your skin is oily does not necessarily mean your skin is hydrated,” says Stafford. Anjalee adds that when cells are damaged by factors such as UV exposure, pollution and glycation, they age before their time and begin to lose optimal function. “Using the right face moisturiser can reverse the cellular aging process and dramatically reduce the look of lines and wrinkles,” she says. Clint meanwhile emphasises that it’s absolutely necessary to use a sunscreen, “Yes, even in this whether,” he says adding that the high levels of pollution in the air make it a must. Stafford adds, “UVA and UVB rays can penetrate even through the clouds. So don’t forget to apply your sunscreen and also, ensure that you apply it at least 25 minutes before leaving your home,” he advises
Though the tides were predicted by the Met officials, the rise in sea water in places like Srinivasapuram and Pattinapakkam, rang alarm bells among the residents, while the thoughts of tsunami hung in the area like the persistent smell of fish that the area is quite famous for. The sea water entered many hutment dotting the quaint coast of Chennai.
But even as Chennai’s shoreline was washed with warm waters of a turbulent sea, Mumbai was being lashed with high tides. According to reports, nearly 200 people have been evacuated from coastal areas, warnings have been sent out to those in low-lying regions and schools have advised students to stay at home as the financial capital braces for a massive 5.5 metre high tidal wave, billed as the highest in 100 years, to lash it Friday afternoon.
The high tide was expected to hit Mumbai and the surrounding Konkan region at 2.05 p.m. The waters will ebb only after three to four hours, met officials said. In the past two days, as waves measuring 4.85 and 5.1 metres lashed Mumbai, civic and disaster management authorities evacuated people — mostly shanty dwellers — from vulnerable areas like Colaba, Cuffe Parade, Andheri, Jogeshwari and even parts of neighbouring Thane.
The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) has issued warnings to people in low-lying areas to watch out for the gigantic tide Friday and take adequate precautions. On Thursday, sea water rushed into several buildings in Cuffe Parade, Worli, Dadar, Prabhadevi, Andheri, Juhu, Khar and Malad.
However, for many Mumbaikars, the tides offered a rare view of a natural phenomenon after clouds obscured the solar eclipse Wednesday. Thousands of people excitedly saw the tides from a safe distance at places like Colaba, Marine Drive, Girgaum Chowpatty, Worli Sea-Face, Bandra Bandstand, Juhu Beach, Gorai Beach and Marve Beach yesterday. Today, greater numbers were at hand to witness the nature erupting in joy or anger
If the word Monsoon and its unique experience have lured you, then don’t wait, just pull out one or two weeks vacation from your busy schedule this monsoon and head straight towards Kerala. Blessed with natural beauty, Kerala beckons tourists in the monsoons for a fantastic vacation. Here in Kerala you can refresh yourself in the invigorating monsoon rain or luxuriate in the simplest of pleasures in exotic resorts or gaze at the spectacle of caparisoned elephants or even enjoy a joy ride atop one. Besides, tranquil backwaters, clean beaches, rich and varied wildlife and colourful festivals altogether make Kerala an unparalleled tourist destination.
Personally I suggest you to combine monsoon and Ayurveda, and you will return home with never before experience. Acccording to Ayurveda practitioners, the soothing monsoon season from June to October is the best time for Ayurveda. Experts say, during monsoon the body remains most receptive to the therapeutic and restorative powers of herbs and oil. Hence, an Ayurveda vacation to Kerala in the moonsoon is the best way to refresh, rejuvenate, replenish and renew your body and soul.
Kerala’s pleasant climate and natural abundance of forests make it a perfect destination for Ayurveda treatments. In fact, Kerala is the only place in the world, where the 5,000 year old healthcare system is practiced with absolute authenticity and dedication.
During monsoon Kerala Tourism organises several innovating programmes like ‘Rainwalks’ in Trivandrum and Fort Kochi. In Trivandrum, the tour takes you along the heritage area of East Fort dotted with old forts, palaces and temples. The monsoon showers will provide the perfect background to unveil the story of a unique town set around centuries-old temple having its own culture and distinct way of life. Kochi, the commercial capital of Kerala lurer travellers to her shores. Here tree-lined avenues and quaint little lanes house the many treasures left behind by the Dutch, Portuguese, Chines and the British. Fort Kochi’s rich legacy can be best experienced with rainwalks.
Monsoon Holiday Packages for Kerala are offered by travel agents that covers almost all major and minor tourist destinations of the state. Most packages are aimed to suit both domestic and foreign tourists with a wide range of options to choose from. So, book a monsoon tour package, move to Kerala to rejoice in the rains with your dear ones.
Friday, July 24, 2009
As light showers continued in the city, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has geared up to tackle any emergency situation arising out of the 5.05 metre high tide, likely to hit the metropolis' shores today.
The civic body is prepared to drain out excessive rain water accumulating in the city and its suburbs if heavy rains coincide with the high-tide, likely to hit at 1403 hours.
The Meterological department has forecast heavy rains orthundershowers in parts of the city and its suburbs today.
Colaba and suburban Santacruz recorded 18.9 mm and 56.1 mm rainfall respectively.
The Met department has advised fishermen not to go in the sea as it would be rough with strong gusty winds.
Meanwhile, rail as well as air traffic were largely unaffected and no traffic snarls were reported.
A high tide of 5.01 m accompanied by strong gusty windshad hit the shores of the city yesterday which resulted in inundation at many parts of the metropolis.
Tide warning Chart
Rainfall stats for Chennai from Jan-2009 to Jun-2009::
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
Average Rainfall(mm):: 17 24 20 18 33 53
Actual(mm):: 21.2 0 2 0 14.6 22.6
Departure(%):: +33% -100% -33% -100% -70% -58%
The above stats look bleak. Overall we have a deficiency of 95% And JULY so far is also WAY behind the average.
Already most of Chennai suburbs are under "water scarcity" zone. (latest by 20-Jul-09)
And "IF our favorite NORTH-EAST monsoon fails".. then ??
We'll monitor the situation and report continously.
Madikeri, Karnataka, July 24 : Dreams of Coffee planters were shuttered as fruits have dropped due to heavy rainfall that lashed the District since onset of South West Monsoon.
The delayed monsoon created high hope in the planters as the fruits took a fast growth and grew in size. The jingling branches projected bounty. As the fate would have it, the heavy rainfall has turned the fruits down on to land. While the present fall is due to the lashing effect, the expert says that there will be further fall due to the weakening of fruit base or decaying.
The growers from Birunai in South Kodagu alleged that the government had promised to provide insurance coveraga for crop loss during last season and never kept up its promise. They explain the irony that for a naked eye the coffee berry looks thick and healthy.
But they keep falling before ripening.
Ajjamada Shankaru Nachappa, secretary of the Srimangala Coffee Growers Association told UNI that similar situation was experienced in 2007 and the government had promised to pay compensation. It was a blatant lie and they never received any assistance. He said that the government had announced a compensation of Rs 6000 per hectare during 2007.
"Hundreds of applications were forwarded. The coffee board conducted a survey and the then deputy commissioner Niranjan suggested alteration in the RTC and hundreds of rupees was spent on rectifying records with a hope of getting compensation. The planters regretfully state that they never received a single pie so far," he added.
Birunani receives highest rainfall. It had received 288.77 inches during 2008. It has received nearly 80 inches of rainfall during this month. The planters told that orange and Pepper crops are also suffering due to heavy rainfall. The planters are suffering with multifold problems. The weather plays a spoil sports. There is labor problem and they have to pa double to those who are available. There is crop loss. Added to the agony is the crocodile tears from the politicians and non cooperation from officers and government.
They have appealed to the government and peoples representatives to look into the problems of the planters with sincerity and provide assistance.
Patna, India - Farmers in an eastern Indian state have asked their unmarried daughters to plough parched fields naked in an attempt to embarrass the weather gods to bring some badly needed monsoon rain, officials said on Thursday.
Witnesses said the naked girls in Bihar state ploughed the fields and chanted ancient hymns after sunset to invoke the gods. They said elderly village women helped the girls drag the ploughs.
"They (villagers) believe their acts would get the weather gods badly embarrassed, who in turn would ensure bumper crops by sending rains," Upendra Kumar, a village council official, said from Bihar's remote Banke Bazaar town"This is the most trusted social custom in the area and the villagers have vowed to continue this practice until it rains very heavily."
India this year suffered its worst start to the vital monsoon rains in eight decades, causing drought in some states.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
first time since its onset.
As per meteorological norms, if the actual rainfall is higher by 20% or more, then it is considered excess rainfall for the region. If the difference between the actual rainfall and the normal rainfall is plus or minus 19%, then it is considered as normal.
The India Meteorological Department's (IMD) weekly rainfall update, compiled on Friday, revealed that all the four regions in the state, including Marathwada, have received excess rainfall during the week ending July 15.
A comparison of the season's rainfall in the state from June 1 to July 15 showed that Marathwada was the only region in the state which had received deficient rainfall. All other regions namely Vidarbha, madhya Maharashtra and Konkan have got normal rainfall, as per their respective seasonal figures.
During the period July 9 to 15, Marathwada was expected to get 34.3 mm rainfall as per the average, but recorded 50.4 mm rainfall which is 47% more than its average.
Other regions like Vidarbha, madhya Maharashtra and Konkan (which also includes Goa) too followed the same pattern. Rainfall in madhya Maharashtra and the Konkan region was higher by 60 and 62% receptively. Vidarbha has recorded 30% more rainfall, IMD officials said.
According to statistics available with the IMD, Vidarbha normally gets 76.9 mm rainfall during the July 9 to 15 period, but this year it recorded 100.3 mm rainfall. Madhya Maharashtra, which witnesses 54.5 mm rains, has received 87.0 mm, while Konkan (including Goa) that usually records 227.3 mm rainfall, has received 367.7 mm rainfall during the same period this season.
"This is the first time in the season that the entire state has got excess rainfall. A good increase in rainfall was recorded due to favourable weather conditions," said Medha Khole, director (weather forecasting), IMD, while speaking to TOI.
Elaborating on the favourable conditions observed, Khole said the presence of a well-marked low pressure area in the Bay of Bengal resulted in good showers in the state. This system moved towards Maharashtra during the last week, thus increasing the rains.
"While El Nino indicators have fluctuated over the past few weeks, the overall picture remains one of a developing El Nino event," the Bureau of Meteorology said.
"Ocean conditions in the Pacific Basin remain at El Nino levels. Should they persist at such levels through the remainder of the southern winter and into spring, as predicted by the world's leading climate models, 2009 will be considered an El Nino year."
El Nino, meaning "little boy" in Spanish, is driven by an abnormal warming of the eastern Pacific Ocean and creates havoc in weather patterns across the Asia-Pacific region.
It is associated with drought conditions in parts of Australia and Asia and wetter-than-normal weather in parts of South America.
India this year suffered its worst start to the vital monsoon rains in eight decades, causing drought in some states.
The last severe El Nino in 1998 killed over 2,000 people and caused billions of dollars worth of damage to crops, mines and infrastructure in Australia and Asia.
The Australian weather bureau said Pacific Ocean temperatures remained at about 1 degree Celsius above average and that cloud patterns and rainfall along the equator were now becoming consistent with a developing El Nino event.
However a major indicator of an El Nino, the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), was running contrary to a normal El Nino development.
The SOI, which measures the pressure difference between the Pacific island of Tahiti and the Australian city of Darwin, was currently at a positive 12, while a consistently negative SOI indicates an El Nino.
The bureau said the positive SOI was due to a high pressure system near Tahiti and warmer than expected sea temperatures in the western Pacific and Coral Sea