A drought-like situation hangs heavy over Maharashtra owing to the delayed monsoon. If the situation continues, drastic inflation will take place, escalating food prices immensely.
Moreover, a severe shortage of drinking water appears to be most imminent. "Dams are already reaching their lowest level. It will be difficult to live in such a grim situation. Till date, hardly 2% of sowing has been done in the state. Where will food grains come from, if there is no rainfall," asked Nanasaheb Patil, president of Shetkari Vikas Sanghthan.
He continues, "No one seems to be taking the situation seriously. The state Congress politicians are busy in changing chief minister Prithviraj Chavan. On the other hand, Chavan is spending more time on his Delhi tour to save his coveted chair. The CM is more interested in taking populist decisions ahead of state assembly elections, rather than making any provisions and contingency plans for the drought," said Patil.
The deficit rainfall will have an adverse impact on prices of food, pulses and vegetables. Even ratings agency Crisil stated that the deficient rainfall situation is similar to that of the 2009 drought. "Inflation will push commodity prices beyond the estimates. The rainfall pattern so far is similar to that seen in 2009, which was an all-India drought year. This has raised the spectrum of drought in the country this year," Crisil stated in its report.
Dinesh Patil, a farmer from Jalgaon, said that he invested Rs2 lakh in purchasing seeds and fertilisers. "I raised the money from private money lenders on high interest rate. If there is no rainfall, then it will be a double blow for me. I am praying and hoping for the monsoon to commence quickly. In the drought, we may survive by doing odd jobs, but what about the animals, where will they go," asked Patil.
A cotton growing farmer from Dhule, Rajesh Wankhede, said that while there was sufficient water in their tube-well, rainwater is important. "By using the well-drawn water, I planted cotton seeds in my farm. The plants are in a good condition, but need the rain water to grow properly. If there is no rain, then the well will dry up one day."