The period from October to December experiences what is called the Northeast Monsoon season over South India. Northeast Monsoon season is a major period of rainfall over south peninsula, particularly in the eastern half. Tamil Nadu receives 48% of the annual rainfall from the northeast monsoon whereas its coastal districts receive 60% of their annual rain from this monsoon. Thus, these being the major months of rain, agriculture production and economy rely heavily on it.
But this year’s rain figures already show a tense situation. In the last week of October Tamil Nadu was experiencing a rain deficit of 68% and Kerala was falling short of rains by about 30%. However rain deficit figures for the entire month of October in Tamil Nadu and Kerala were 29% and 11% respectively.
“Rain has been below the normal average in the month of October this year because of less number of systems of depression that formed in the Bay of Bengal, only giving isolated or scattered rain most of the times”, explains Mahesh Palawat, Meteorologist at Skymetweather.com
Little rain in Tiruchi district (rain deficit – 65%) last month caused a lot worry for the farmers over cultivation and prospects of the samba paddy crop. Although later, samba paddy cultivation was taken up in full swing in the canal-irrigated delta areas of the district after the release of water from Mettur Reservoir. The Agriculture Department’s chances of success in the target to cover about 67,000 hectares of land under samba paddy in Tiruchi district this year looks bleak as of now.
Farmers in Marungapuri, Manapparai, Vaiyampatti, Thottiyam, Thuraiyur, and Uppilliyapuram areas are unable to take up paddy cultivation so far. Most of these farmers had lost the samba crop because of the monsoon failure last year too. Though on the other hand, scattered rain has helped cotton and maize crops.
“Unless the water level in non-delta (rain fed) areas doesn’t go up in the wells, farmers cannot go for paddy cultivation”, says P.Ayyakannu, State vice-president, Bharathiya Kisan Sangam. “Even if there were to be some good rain over the next 10 days, farmers will be able to take up paddy cultivation. Farmers need good rain to bring in water to the tanks, wells, reservoirs as well”, he added.
“Following the usual pattern, northeast monsoon rain generally occur in shorts spells and then reduces for couple of days in between. Though, it is true that so far this year there hasn’t been much rain from this monsoon period. Moreover, Novemeber, which the rainiest month for Tamil Nadu and Kerala has seen below normal rain in the first seven days”, says another senior Meteorologist at Skymet.
Other than isolated rain in one odd pocket of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, forecasts suggest no rain in south India for next couple of days.
Besides south India, cultivation of seasonal crops in northeast India has also seen its share of trouble due to less monsoon rain. In the entire month of October, Assam received below normal rain by about 23% and NMMT (Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura) region was facing a rain deficit of over 30%. Assam-Meghalaya meteorological sub-division has recorded six monsoon rainfall-deficient years and the Nagaland-Manipur-Mizoram-Tripura meteorological sub-division has recorded four monsoon rainfall-deficient years from 2001 till now.
Photo by dandapani.