(News) Bundelkhand stares at drought 2015

Bundelkhand stares at drought 2015

At 84%, the rainfall deficit for the last month in western UP and Bundelkhand (comprising a total of 30 districts) is the second-highest deficit, after Maharashtra's Vidarbha region (88%). The deficit was corrected due to rainfall in the first week of November. Between October 1 and 28, the deficit was 97%.

This deficit is much higher than of Maharashtra's Marathwada region, which saw 74% deficit. Marathwada had recently seen a string of drought-related farmer suicides.

While the region should have had 43.1 mm rainfall in this period, it only saw 6.8. Among the worst-hit districts in the state are Badaun (100%), Meerut (98%), Mathura (98%), Baghpat (96%), Firozabad (95%) and Bijnor (94%). Overall, the state suffered a rainfall deficit of 79%.

This raises concerns of an impending drought. CM Akhilesh Yadav had last week written to the PM, seeking a loan so the distress of farmers could be eased. The rabi wheat crop could take a drubbing, for the second year in a row after the unseasonal rain of March-April hit farmers hard.

Urging the PM to take the decision in light of the extreme stress being faced by agrarian families, the CM said that existing interest subvention schemes should be extended to the farmers. In light of a potential drought in UP, chief secretary Alok Ranjan had even directed all district magistrates and commissioners to stop, with immediate effect and until further orders, recovery of loans from farmers.

Just two days prior to the CM's letter to the PM, former AAP leader Yogendra Yadav had hit out at the state government and demanded that UP be declared "calamity-hit".

Yadav had said, "Uttar Pradesh has been the centre of the drought which has hit the country. The situation in the eastern and Bundelkhand region is such that it could take the shape of a famine. For the animals it is already a famine. Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka have been declared drought-hit but in UP, where the situation is so alarming, the government has not yet done the same."

Ashok Kumar, professor at Sardar Vallabhai Patel University of Agriculture's department of soil science, said, "As we know, rainfall was less even in the monsoon. During the kharif season, farmers somehow managed with water from streams and with groundwater. However, this put considerable pressure on groundwater levels in these regions. With the onset of the rabi season, it is important that not much pressure be put on groundwater. Eastern UP and Bundelkhand will feel more stress as compared to central and western UP. Rain is the primary source of irrigation in these regions."

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Courtesy: Times of India