The month of March ended with a rain surplus by a huge margin of 47%. These excess rains did harm some of the standing crops in several parts of the country- notedly the northern, eastern and central parts.
Additionally, the government-imposed curfew restricted the process of harvest for the rabi crops. The lockdown created concerns over unavailability of farm labourers, farm machines and the implements. Labour shortage has made hiring workers from surrounding areas very expensive as they are in huge demand.
With buyers and traders staying away from the market along with the limitation of transportation, harvesting of crop is getting delayed. The farmers were seeking regulated exemptions to save their produce.
Accordingly, the Union Home Ministry has issued Addendum to the guidelines of national lockdown, under which the activities pertaining to agriculture and related products, services and such other amenities have been brought under the exception categories from the lockdown.
This also allows Intra and interstate movement of harvesting and sowing equipment. This would facilitate unhindered harvesting of crops.
The farming community has sought a moratorium on all crop loans and also insurance cover of Rs 50,000 each for farmers and farm labourers, who are exposing themselves to the pandemic risk to ensure food security of the country. The problem is more serious for crops such as chillies, horticultural crops and vegetables.
Prompt action is needed to address the issue, lest there will be a huge loss of crop on account of the produce not being harvested. Alongside, the supply chain of fertilisers and pesticides need to be restored, maybe in a phased manner.
The country is under lockdown till 14th April. An unprecedented calamity needed an unprecedented response, all efforts are now on containment of COVID- 19 to arrest the pandemic from reaching stage 3, a community spread. There are already whispers in some sections of having crossed over to this stage. If India comes to stage 3, the rise will be staggering and hard to control. Technically called the “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus – 2” or “SARS- COV2”. This virus is called novel to mean it is a virus that has not been, previously identified in humans. The highly infectious disease mostly spreads through surface contact and respiratory droplets.
The total number of coronavirus cases in India has crossed 4,000 marks and the death toll rises over 100. Maharashtra is the most affected state with over 700 positive cases and rising further. This is followed by Kerala with over 320 cases and close behind is Tamil Nadu.
India’s coronavirus curve is flatter than the United States and European Union countries but steeper than several Asian peers like Singapore and Japan. Also, the case count is rising too fast for comfort. There’s no room for complacency and the efforts need further concentration.
After the postponement of Tokyo Olympics, Wimbledon has also announced the cancellation of the championship 2020. The cancellation comes in the wake of public health concerns linked to the Coronavirus epidemic. The 134th championship for the Grand slam title will now be held from 28th June to 11th July 2021. With the present crises, economies are rolling, and the Indian economy is no exception and is staring at the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak that forces the government to announce 21 days lockdown.
The month of April ushers in two important changes in the weather pattern. First, the strengthening of pre-monsoon conditions resulting heatwave in a few pockets and secondly, the formation of cyclonic storms in Indian seas, more so in the Bay of Bengal. The day temperatures have risen beyond 40-degree mark over Southern parts and are likely to extend over the central parts now in large numbers. Severe dust storms over North India and Norwesters over Eastern parts carry damaging potential both for life and property during this month.
A fresh western disturbance will arrive on 6th itself over the hills with its induced circulation over West Rajasthan. Mild activity on 6th will become fairly widespread and moderate as well for Punjab, Haryana, North Rajasthan, Delhi NCR and west Uttar Pradesh on the 7th of April. The hills across North India and the foothills will have moderate activity from 7th to 9th April. This activity could be intense on 7th April for Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh with lightning and hailstorm at a few places. Short breather for two days and a fresh system will arrive on the 12th of April. The chain of western disturbances will keep the day temperatures suppressed to hover in low 30s in most parts of Punjab and Haryana.
East and North-East India
The eastern parts covering Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal is expected to have rain and thundershowers in the first half of the week and remain mostly dry in the second half. Entire northeast India will observe a wet spell for the entire week. The thunderstorms and lightning accompanied by strong winds are likely to be intense on 8th and 9th April. Assam and Meghalaya specially alerted to guard against this inclement weather activity.
Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh are going to remain dry for the complete week. This will lead to dry heat with temperatures over 40-degree centigrade over interiors of Saurashtra and Kutch, North Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. Maharashtra is also going to remain dry in the first half of the week. However, southern parts of Madhya Maharashtra and Marathwada will have rain and thundershowers between 10th and 12th April. Southern parts of Chhattisgarh and Odisha also will have heat triggered thunderstorm during the first half of the week.
Pre-monsoon heat is catching up over the interiors of South Peninsula. Rayalaseema is the hottest pocket. The seasonal trough is also seen establishing now and will be marked throughout the week extending from Chhattisgarh and Odisha to Tamil Nadu and Kerala across Telangana, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. There will also be a spike in the thunderstorm activity across most parts including Tamil Nadu which had generally remained silent so far. Intense thunderstorms over South interior Karnataka (Bengaluru, Mysuru, Hassan) and Kerala are likely between 6th and 8th of April.
Delhi has still not touched the day temperature of 35 degrees. It may breach this mark, this week. Rain and thundershowers are likely on 7th evening. The first half of the week is going to be humid because of easterly winds.
The rise in the day and night temperatures is expected during the week. Hot and humid conditions will prevail. The city may experience the first spell of rain and thundershowers of pre- Monsoon season on 7th and 8th of April.
Footnote – the temperatures are rising more than 43.5 degrees at a few places over Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rayalaseema and Tamil Nadu. The highest temperature of 43.2 was recorded at Khargone on 3rd of April. Heatwave in some pockets of central and southern parts is likely in the next two weeks.