Partial drought likely in 2012, says meteorological dept

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New Delhi, Aug 3: With the India Meteorological Department (IMD) admitting that there could be a partial drought this year, the worst fears of farmers across the country seem to be coming true.

"The seasonal rainfall of the entire South West Monsoon season - June to September - is likely to be deficient," the department indicated yesterday.

"In August, we are hoping for a better rainfall scenario ... But there will be some problem in the terminal part of the monsoon," IMD director general Laxman Singh Rathore told newspersons.

Since the sea surface temperature in the central Pacific Ocean has risen by quite a bit, the department feels that rain in September could be lesser than normal.

This is because warming of the Pacific ocean, a phenomenon known as El Nino, usually leads to rise in surface pressure over the Indian Ocean. El Nino has been blamed for extreme weather in many parts of the world.

Replying to queries about the agricultural situation in the nation, the IMD director general pointed out that fields in Punjab and Haryana have already been irrigated. "Central and Northeast India have comfortable situation. Rainfall in paddy harvest area is good so expect paddy produce to be good," Rathore noted.

About the possibility of floods, he said, "Major calamity could be in the coastal area, production in the coastal area could be affected. Pulses are comfortable as far as the area of cultivation of pulses is concerned. Ground could be affected but will be compensated by the soya bean production. No effect seen on sugarcane and cotton crops."

In view of the warnings from the weather office, the Centre recently asked the states which have recorded poor rainfall so far to look at contingency plans. The government is worried that a severe drought like the one in 2002 could negatively impact the GDP.

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