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Wednesday, Jul 14, 2004

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Grasim to cut output on monsoon delay

Dinesh Narayanan

Mumbai , July 13

ALARM bells have begun tinkling if not ringing as rains stay away from a large tract of central India for the second week into what should have been a drenched July.

Grasim Industries on Tuesday informed the stock exchanges that delay in the arrival of monsoon is cutting the production of staple fibre at its plant in Nagda in Madhya Pradesh by 80 tonnes.

Even though water scarcity in central India will not affect industrial production because much of it takes place in coastal Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, a drought in the region could seriously impair rural demand in the latter part of the year.

Mr Mahesh Vyas, Executive Director of the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, said, "The situation is not yet grave but we need to be on guard."

Mr Vyas said monsoon has indeed played truant and sowing has been delayed in the central region comprising North Maharashtra, North Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. "If it does not rain this week and the next, the situation could turn grave," he said.

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