Pradeep Pattanayak

It's more than two weeks after the onset of the monsoon, rains seemed to have disappeared from the sky over most parts of Odisha. And thanks to this, paddy fields across the State, which would have by now worn a look of lush greenery with undulating paddy plants, are exhibiting a parched look. 

As per the data available with the regional centre of India Meteorological Department, Bhubaneswar, till June 30, the State received 131.3 mm rainfall against the normal 217.7 mm. It means, the State received 40 percent less rainfall in June. 

The matter of concern is that not a single district received normal or surplus rainfall during the period. 

Of the 30 districts, there are eight such districts that received below 50 percent rainfall. They are Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Jharsuguda, Sundargarh, Nabarangpur, Khurda, Bhadrak and Bolangir. 

What is surprising is the situation in Puri where there has not been a single good spell of rain in the season so far. The coastal district has become the victim of being the worst affected district with 86 percent deficient rainfall. 

Likewise, Kendrapara, Sundargarh and Jagatsinghgpur have also recorded rainfall deficiency of above 60 percent. 

As of now, farmers in these districts are in a state of worry. They are sure that farming will largely be affected if the situation does not improve in the coming days. 

Meanwhile, the prediction of the weathermen has brought solace to the despondent farmers. According to the weather bureau, the possibility of formation of low-pressure area in the next 24 hours and another one by July 10 are likely to improve the rainfall deficiency situation in the State. 

“If back-to-back two low-pressures form over the State, they will compensate the rainfall deficiency,” observed Dr Sanjeev Dwivedy, a scientist at Bhubaneswar Meteorological Centre. 

With the monsoon rain making a detour of the State, the agricultural activities haven’t gathered pace as they should have achieved in the month of July. At many places, cracked paddy fields with un-germinated seeds are a sorry spectacle for farmers while at other places farmers are yet to prepare nurseries. 

“The present situation portends a drought for the State. The questions like how we will grow paddy and feed our families are haunting us,” said Harihar Tiadi, a farmer of Soro in Balasore district. 

Another farmer Ramakanta Mohanty of Balakati area, on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar, said, “By now, transplantation of paddy saplings would have finished. But the rainfall deficiency has come as a spoilsport.”