Special Correspondent

Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy asks farmers not to lose their cool

HYDERABAD: Despite an "active South-West monsoon" being at hand in the State, the weather is more like an `extended summer.' A semi-dry spell is prevailing in the State, leaving both farmers and the Government worried.

The rain has been either moderate or isolated so far, increasing humidity in the atmosphere. People in Coastal Andhra districts are facing an irksome sultry weather. The day temperatures are above 40 degree Celsius in many coastal and Telangana towns.

Taking stock of the situation at a meeting here on Wednesday, Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy appealed to farmers not to get panicky over the current dry spell.

The meeting was attended by State Meteorological Office Director M. Satya Kumar and Agriculture Commissioner Poonam Malakondaiah who felt the dry conditions were "only a temporary situation and good days are ahead."

Giving a word of reassurance, she referred to the forecast issued by the India Meteorological Department that the rainfall this year would be 93 per cent of the long-term average with 5 per cent deviation.

By this time last year, rain lashed the State and many rivers, including the Godavari and Krishna, were in floods. Interestingly, the State received 45 per cent excess rainfall during summer months of March, April and May and the monsoon arrived nine days in advance on May 28. North Telangana has not been covered by the monsoon so far.

Weak currents

The dry spell is attributed to lack of a low-pressure system that could precipitate the monsoon and to weak monsoon currents due to absence of high-pressure winds. These high-pressure winds normally originate in Madagascar region and cross the equator to reach India.

Going by the excess summer rainfall, farmers have sown nearly 3 lakh acres for kharif. The Government has drawn up an ambitious plan to cover 121 lakh acres during kharif as against 88 lakh acres last year to achieve a foodgrains production of 107 lakh tonnes.

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