Jamshedpur, Aug. 7: Patna Meteorological Office today forecasted widespread rain across Jharkhand for four days, starting today, bringing some respite for farmers and the fledgling Hemant Soren government, both sweating over an average monsoon deficit of 31 per cent.
It may also wash out the cry of drought raised by the Opposition, not without reason. Meteorologically, a state is declared drought-hit if the monsoon deficit reaches 59 per cent and above, a figure Chatra district has surpassed and many others are approaching.
In agriculture terms, a shortfall of 60 per cent in farming activity also means drought, which the state is also witnessing, say Birsa Agriculture University scientists.
Sustained and heavy rainfall for four days can salvage farmer fortunes as well as the state exchequer. In Jharkhand, monsoon shortfall easily spirals into an economic crisis due to low agri output, burdening the cash-starved state.
“A low-pressure area over Jharkhand has extended up to mid-troposphere in the atmosphere. It will result in widespread rain across the state in the next four days,” said A.K. Sen, Patna Met office director.
“The low pressure means heavy rain at a few places. We have issued an alert in this regard,” he added.
Regional Meteorological Centre at Alipore, Calcutta, which also keeps tabs on Jharkhand’s weather, also forecasted rain at most places in the next 48 hours.
“Monsoon currents have regained strength in Jharkhand due to low pressure. Rainfall across Jharkhand over the next few days will reduce deficit,” said the duty officer at Regional Meteorological Centre.
The axis of monsoon trough has passed through Bikaner (Rajasthan), Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh), Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) and Paradip (Odisha) and extended up to the north-west of Bay of Bengal.
In the past 24 hours, wet spells have been witnessed across districts. While Pakur district recorded a shower boom at Maheshpur (71mm), Amrapara, Kurdeg and Pakuria (60mm), rain god was less kind to Bokaro (20mm), Dhanbad (10mm) and Jamshedpur (9mm).
It is a welcome change. This monsoon has wrung dry hopes of paddy farmers — the crop needs knee-deep or ankle-deep standing water — almost everywhere but in Gumla.
As of today, Jharkhand has a 31 per cent monsoon deficit. Against a seasonal average of 616.4mm, the state has so far received 424.4mm.
But this is a variable figure. On Monday, the deficit had read 28 per cent due to rainfall in several districts owing to the impact of a low pressure over the Bay of Bengal. The number will again change in the next few days depending on how heavily it rains.
“A good spell of rain is expected in Jharkhand over the next few days. It will increase crop coverage,” Birsa Agriculture University scientist A. Wadood said.
This year, though monsoon reached Jharkhand on June 10, well within schedule, rainfall dramatically dropped in July due to frequent shifts of the monsoon trough.