Even as delayed monsoon rains began to drench many parts of Gujarat on Monday, sowing of rabi crops has been completed in about 16 lakh hectares  (ha) across the State, a government official said here on Tuesday.

Most of this sowing was reported from the Saurashtra region, home to cotton and groundnut, sown in nearly 7 lakh and 6 lakh ha so far, respectively, the official added.

Despite delayed rains, farmers in most areas had started sowing as scheduled thanks to the Narmada waters, drip irrigation and more than two lakh check-dams built over the last 15 years.

With the pace of monsoon rains expected to pick, the State would close the sowing season with about 90 lakh ha. By October 2011, despite delayed rains, sowing had been completed in nearly 88 lakh ha, the official pointed out.

Over the last week, rains have been reported in most areas of Gujarat. However, for any eventuality, the State Government has reserved drinking water in the dams until July 15 to 20, prohibiting its use for irrigation.

There is also no dearth of water for industrial use so far, the official said. Most major dams in the State have still retained 25% water.

(This article was published on July 10, 2012)
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