Drought threat looms over half of Maharashtra

Over half of Maharashtra is under the shadow of drought as 254 out of around 380 talukas in the state have received a below average rainfall till now this year.

Only 61 talukas have received an average or above average rainfall upto August 8, while 51 talukas have received between 25 to 50 per cent of average rainfall, as per the data released by the state Agriculture department.

Majority of the areas that have received the below average rainfall are from Marathwada and Vidarbha regions.

As per the data, the western Vidarbha and adjacent districts of Marathwada are the worst affected.

Agriculture Minister Panduran Fundkar said the situation is serious.

“Agriculture department is planning to start conducting crop surveys if these regions don’t receive showers till the next week,” he said.

The weather bureau had predicted a break in monsoon for about a week at the end of July. However, the Marathwada and Vidarbha regions have been witnessing practically dry weather spells for over a couple of weeks now.

The state had witnessed a long spell of drought up to 2015 when it received very good rains.

Though the harvest was good due to satisfactory rains last year, the bumper production crashed the markets, prompting farmers in the state to agitate.

The government announced a crop loan waiver scheme in June this year after the protests.

“But, if rains remain scarce, the government may have to provide the farmers with an additional assistance,” an Agriculture department official said.


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