MP rabi hit by paucity of water, power

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Bhopal, Dec 12 (UNI) Struck by the double whammy of less than average rainfall and inadequate power supply, only 60 per cent sowing of rabi crops has taken place this year in Madhya Pradesh where the monsoon was delayed.

Despite the state government scaling down the target to 91.28 lakh hectares from 94 lakh ha, sowing has taken place a over 58.96 lakh ha. Sources said that the constant decline in the rabi crop's general area might lead to a 20-25 per cent reduction in output.

Of Madhya Pradesh's 48 districts, only six received above average precipitation, 15 normal, 25 below average and two scanty.

Most districts of Sagar, Rewa and Gwalior divisions are suffering from paucity of irrigation water. Panna and Tikamgarh districts might witness a decline in wheat production but the silver lining is an expected increase in gram output. The state's principal rabi crops are wheat, barley, gram, peas, mustard, sugarcane among others.

In 2006-07, sowing took place in over 72.1 lakh ha as against the target of 81.76 lakh ha but production was over 64.6 lakh ha.

''This year's rabi output might decline by 10-15 per cent.

Despite the below-target sowing until now, there will be no major affect on foodgrain production due to the state's annual three-crop cycle and a bumper soybean harvest. The less than average precipitation has resulted in inadequate supply for irrigation,'' Deputy Director (Agriculture) R D Mishra told to UNI.

Due to an interstate agreement, Madhya Pradesh is not obtaining enough water from the Chambal river, flowing in from Rajasthan, the official explained, adding that the districts adjoining the desert state were facing irrigation water shortage.

''There is no dearth of fertiliser but a power paucity. The Agriculture Department is attempting to ensure additional power for farmers by contacting the Energy Department,'' he added.

Madhya Pradesh State Electricity Board official R C Gupta assured that the MPSEB was trying to ensure adequate electricity for peasants and efforts were made to purchase power from several states.

UNI

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