With the southwest monsoon in its last leg, the focus of farmers and officials in charge of water and farm sectors will turn in the coming weeks to how much rain the State is going to get during the northeast monsoon to sustain agricultural activity, which is perceptibly higher this year than the previous year.
The Meteorological Department’s forecast of the northeast monsoon is expected to be finalised in a week, said a senior official of the department.
At the same time, the officials in the State government would want the State to have a reasonable amount of rainfall during the season for a variety of reasons.
Thanks to several factors including the COVID-19 pandemic and better water availability, the coverage of paddy this time is, as of now, around one lakh hectares higher than what it was a year ago. The samba cultivation season is yet to pick up momentum but, if the State’s performance in 2019-20 is an indication, the coverage of paddy in the entire State may go up to 13 lakh hectares, of which 34% will be from the Cauvery delta. As of now, it is about 1.936 lakh ha, both in and outside the delta.
As for the kuruvai this time, the delta accounts for about 1.67 lakh hectares and the rest of the State, 1.35 lakh hectares. The cumulative figure of the coverage for the two seasons is 4.95 lakh ha, which is about 1.1 lakh ha more than that of the previous year.
As on September 10, the shortfall in realisation of the State’s share of the Cauvery water was around 10 thousand million cubic feet (tmc ft). Since June 1, the total realisation was 85.86 tmc ft against the stipulated 98.63 tmc ft. If the State is to have nil shortfall in realisation, it should receive 37 tmc ft in the next two weeks, which can happen only in the event of heavy rainfall in the Cauvery catchment areas.
It is in this context that the northeast monsoon acquires importance. The State’s normal rainfall for the season is around 45 cm. Chief Secretary K. Shanmugam has convened a meeting of senior officials on Friday to take stock of preparedness of the government machinery for the monsoon.