Thiruvananthapuram, June 2: The timely onset of the southwest monsoon bringing fairly good rains has come as a great relief to Kerala after it passed through an unusually searing summer that caused a grim drought situation and power crunch.
However, the spread of various types of viral fever, including a large number of dengue and a few cumulative H1N1 cases, is causing grave concern across the state with its public health care system struggling to cope with the situation.
The onset of monsoon over Kerala and Lakshadweep was declared by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) on Saturday, forecasting its further advance to bring good rains in the coming days.
Kerala, whose economy and ecology is very much linked to the monsoon rains, suffered a 25 per cent shortfall in rains during the southwest monsoon and 35 per cent during the northeast monsoon last year. Drastic reduction in rainfall pushed the state that relies heavily on electricity generated from hydro projects into the worst power crisis of recent times.
As the situation is yet to ease with reservoirs still to be replenished by rains, one-and-a-half hour load-shedding is in force in the state.
According to the Kerala State Electricity Board, the curbs would continue till June 10 at least and they would be relaxed if the catchment areas, mostly in upland Idukki, receive adequate rains for boosting inflow into the reservoirs.