Monsoon sets in MP but drinking water still an issue
Bhopal: There has been a turnaround since the last week’s grim projections about dry weather conditions in Madhya Pradesh. Relief on the drinking water front, however, remains a far cry and the state continues to be in the grip of serious crisis.
There is still panic in cities and villages. More than 300 urban bodies are unable to provide water daily. In some places, water is being supplied twice or thrice a week.
Villages are worse off as people have to walk miles to get potable water.
The Kamal Nath government is blaming the previous BJP government for the crisis and has offered to make a legal provision to give citizens right to drinking water.
With the onset of monsoon in most parts of the state, there is a change in the “meteorological mood” and outlook for coming weeks. This year, with the monsoon pausing due to a weak cross-equatorial flow, the onset in the state has been delayed.
Subsequent progress has been the slowest in the state during at least 12 years.
The Met department has now warned of heavy rains in 13 districts in the state during the next two days due to the low pressure area in the Bay of Bengal. Moderate to heavy showers have been forecast for 16 other districts, including Bhopal.
The region witnessed driest June over many years. The 30 mm rainfall is almost 30 mm short of the normal rain for the season so far.
Sunday’s first monsoon shower at many places, including Bhopal, caused light rain and strong winds in the vicinity on Monday. The delay led to rescheduling of sowing plans.
In the areas where kharif sowing has been delayed by over a week, the farmers are opting for early sprouting variety of soybean and other crops. The soil moisture should sustain for the next week or so to enable germination. But the subsequent progress would depend on periodic showers. The rabi crop was good in many parts of the state due to even spread of non-monsoon showers.
Continuous rain in Burhanpur district caused floods in the river basins. Many areas of west Madhya Pradesh, including Raisen, Ratlam, Sehore, Neemuch, Khargone and Barwani, have received sharp rains in many parts of the region and in many areas.
Forecast for the next couple of days suggests rain covering another 16 districts of Bhopal, Hoshangabad, Harda, Betul, Raisen, Rajgarh, Vidisha, Sehore, Indore, Dhar, Khandwa, Khargone, Alirajpur, Jhabua, Badwani and Burhanpur.
As of now, kharif sowing in the state is down 25 per cent. Progress of monsoon, however, promises a timely recovery.
Two successive lean monsoon seasons had left nearly 4,000 villages staring at an acute drought in 36 out of 52 districts in the state while the new Congress-led government was cramped by Model Code of Conduct for the Lok Sabha elections.
A report by the Panchayat and Rural Development Department had said 40 rivers that provide water to these villages had gone dry and the micro-watershed management was in complete disarray. Most parts of the state have experienced 20-50 per cent deficient rainfall in two years.
More than 21,293,000 hectares of the rivers’ catchment area is parched on the nearly 2,19,0000 km length of these rivers. The department says efforts are continuing to recharge the micro watersheds through the course of these rivers and it has drawn up a plan to raise the groundwater level by recharging the rivers through community participation.
The objective is to raise rural jobs and provide drinking water through works under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
The current monsoon rainfall deficiency varies from 20 to 65 per cent. Guna district in northwest has had a shortfall of 65 per cent normal, while western MP districts like Hoshangabad had 63, Harda 62, Khargone 61, Dewas 44, Ashoknagar 53 and Betul received 44 per cent less rain.