Agri Business

As cloud-seeding operations fail, Marathwada faces another drought year

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on August 24, 2019

Dams in the region remain dry and many sugar mills are not in a position to start crushing due to the lack of sugarcane availability   -  THE HINDU

Sugar mills in the region move to shut operations

With the State government’s cloud-seeding efforts not yielding desired results yet, the water crisis in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra, comprising eight districts, is assuming more serious proportions.

A population of 1.87 crore, which suffered severe drought last year, is yet again staring at a drought. Dams in the region remain dry and many sugar mills are not in a position to start crushing due to the lack of cane availability.

Read more: Crops on over 4 lakh hectares damaged in Maharashtra floods

The region continues to experience a deficient monsoon, with all districts receiving 12-43 per cent less than average rainfall for this time of the year.

Though 90-95 per cent kharif sowing has been completed, farmers are left in the lurch with rains skipping the region.

Major crops, including maize, soyabean, cotton, mosambi, pulses, groundnut and sugarcane, have suffered. Dams in the region have a total storage of 30 per cent. About 1,168 water tankers are plying in the region to quench the thirst of more than 1,000 villages.

Sources in the State government said that with the available cane only two sugar mills could start operations. One of the private sugar mills in the region has already announced that it will not operate this season as availability of the cane in the locality has completely dried up.

“The government has started the cloud-seeding experiment, but the results are not positive. The agency appointed for cloud-seeding is its best, but now we are not sure if the experiment will be successful,” said one of the authorities associated with the experiment.

Every year an estimated 15 lakh small and marginal farmers leave Marathwada after sowing to work as cane cutters in the sugar belt of western Maharashtra. Government authorities said that if rain continues to skip the region, the number of people migrating to other parts of the State might double.

Published on August 24, 2019

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