Himachal Pradesh records over 50 percent deficit rainfall

Shimla, Aug 30 (Inditop.com) Himachal Pradesh has received 53 deficit rainfall this year and there is not much hope of overcoming this shortfall as the monsoon in the state generally starts receding from Sep 15, weather officials said Sunday.

“The overall monsoon situation in the hill state is still precarious. Almost the entire state has received less than the normal average rainfall,” meteorological office director Manmohan Singh told Inditop.

“The deficiency in the cumulative rainfall from June 1 to Aug 30 is still 53 percent. This means, the state saw just 292 mm average rainfall against the normal average of 625 mm.

“As the southwestern monsoon in the northern areas of the country starts receding from Sep 15, it’s now difficult to fill the gap (deficiency in rainfall).

“In August, the state generally receives 108 mm average rainfall. But this time only 44.5 mm rainfall was recorded this month,” the weather official said.

State Agriculture Director J.C. Rana said this was the lowest monsoon rainfall Himachal Pradesh has seen in the past few years.

“Of course, it’s (low rainfall) alarming as more than 80 percent of the horticulture and agricultural activities are rain-fed,” he said.

The deficient rainfall has triggered drought-like conditions across the state.

“The deficit monsoon rains have damaged both the kharif crop now and the rabi crop in winter, when the rains were more than 50 percent below normal. This is the third successive crop failure,” Rana said.

The meteorological office here said that except Una all the 12 districts have received less rains so far.

While there was 85 percent deficit rainfall in Chamba, the figure in Lahaul and Spiti is (72 percent), Sirmaur (63 percent) and Shimla (57 percent).

An initial survey by the agriculture department says cash crop production fell more than 50 percent in several districts, and in some cases, by as much as 80 percent.

Chief Secretary Asha Swaroop pegged the total loss for agriculture and horticulture at Rs.850 crore (Rs.8.5 billion) and Rs.250 crore respectively.

“The government has doled out Rs.35 crore as relief to farmers and agriculture-dependent sectors,” she added.

The government has declared the entire state drought-hit.