Thiruvanthapuram, June 19 : As eastern India reels in monsoon floods, Kerala in southern India where monsoon strikes first on the mainland is ironically craving for rain.
The monsoon rains hit Kerala on time on June 1st raising the hopes of the locals about bountiful rain, but their expectations were belied.
The rains have been scanty and in absence of heavy showers, the rainfall in the 'God's own Country' as Kerala is known, has so far been only 40 per cent of the normal rainfall.
"Even though the monsoons started on the May 31 and entered Kerala on June 1, the starting phase was weak and the main reason was that the wind speed did not pick up," observed M D Ramachandran, Director, Meteorological Department, Thiruvanthapuram.
He added, "A low-pressure area was formed on June 14 around the west of Lakshadweep and it took away part of the monsoon humidity, it has taken away to the Gulf regions. Because of this, the humidity percentage which has to come as rains to Kerala has been taken away from this shore." Meteorologists further elaborated that for the monsoon to come to Kerala needs development of low pressure along the eastern coastal of Orissa was needed, right across the other side facing the Bay of Bengal.
Recently, low pressure developed in the Bay of Bengal along the coast of West Bengal bringing heavy rains to eastern and northeastern India causing flash floods in many parts of the region.
But in Kerala the farmers are praying for early re-activation of southwest monsoon to save their crops.
"This time the rains have been poor. We have been constantly pumping water to the fields. There have been rains only for a few days. We do not have enough water," said Ramani, a farmer.
The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) has brought down the level of power generation drastically from 16-17 million units to 10-11 million units, as the reservoirs for hydropower generation are virtually empty.