Jaipur: With Rajasthan facing rainfall deficit of nearly 35 per cent, sowing of kharif crops have shrunk by almost half against the target for this year in the desert state.
The government had fixed a target of sowing kharif crops in 150 lakh hectare of area in 2012, but plantation has been down presently to only 77 lakh hectare, sources in the state agriculture department said.
Going by the trend it is estimated that sowing acreage would be around 100 lakh hectare by the end of plantation season that would last till around August 10, they said.
According to official data, rainfall in the state till today is 138.33 mm which is 34.11 per cent deficient.
"Rainfall is scanty in five districts of Jodhpur, Barmer, Bikaner, Jaisalmer and Nagaur whereas the rainfall in the state as a whole is deficient," Minister of Disaster Management and Relief, Brijendra Singh Ola, told news agency.
"The Meteorological department has forecast that the second round of rainfall would be active from July 22 to 29 and we hope rainfall during this round would improve the situation," he added.
Out of total 33 districts in Rajasthan, five are falling under "scanty" category where the rainfall is 60 per cent less than normal and 22 in "deficit" rainfall (20 to 59 per cent less than normal.
Only six districts are under "normal" category (19 per cent more or less than normal) this year.
No district in the state this year is under "abnormal" (60 per cent above normal) or "excess" (20 to 59 per cent above normal) category. The number of districts under these categories was 4 and 6 respectively till date last year.
Out of a total of 723 dams across the state, only 12 are filled with water while 243 are partially filled and 468 empty, as per the official data.
State Agriculture minister Harjiram Burdak hoped the percentage of sowing will improve in coming days with prospect of better rains in near future.
In view of the bad monsoon situation, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had in a recent meeting directed the concerned departments to prepare a contingency plan so that relief work could be started wherever it is necessary, Ola said.
The Minister said Rajasthan state government has written to the Centre urging increasing mandatory work days under MGNREGA scheme to 200 from 100 at present during crisis period like the one prevailing now due to poor monsoon.
He said the government has directed the officials to prepare plans related to water and power supply, fodder arrangements and creating employment.