With drought conditions looming over Madhya Pradesh due to deficient rainfall, especially in August, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan prayed to Lord Mahakal at the temple in Ujjain and conducted the Maharudra ritual for the resumption of good rainfall.
Earlier, late on Sunday night, he held an emergency meeting with state officials and directed all measures to save the Kharif crops – especially by releasing water from dams.
THE WEEK had reported on Friday about a looming crop crisis as half of the state has received deficient rainfall overall in the season till now and there has been an average 40 per cent shortfall of rain in August with several districts receiving 40-94 per cent less rainfall than expected.
As of Monday, the state has received 19 per cent deficient rainfall, having received an average of 662.8 mm of rain instead of the expected 816mm till this time of the season. The 31 districts of Western MP are worse hit with 22 per cent deficiency. However, a spell of rainfall is expected to start in eastern Madhya Pradesh from Monday and spread to western MP by September 7, the Regional Meteorological Centre has predicted. Heavy rain is expected in the state from September 7 to 18 as of now.
Speaking to the media after rituals at the Mahakal temple, Chouhan conceded that drought conditions were developing in the state due to a ‘dry August’ and there was a crisis related to crops. “There is a lot of power in prayers and I have prayed for blessings of the Lord for the betterment of farmers, saving crops and good rainfall across the state for overall welfare. I also appeal to people of the state to pray for rainfall locally according to their local traditions,” he said.
The chief minister conceded that there was a shortfall of electricity and therefore farmers were not getting the required supply for irrigation. “Normally there is less requirement of electricity during this season as tube-wells, and motors do not run (water is available naturally) and hydroelectricity generation is at peak due to water in the dams. The normal power demand during monsoon is 8-9,000 megawatts (MW) per day, but currently, the demand has increased to almost 15,000 MW and a gap between demand and supply has occurred. Therefore, the farmers are getting less than the required power supply,” the CM said.
He further said “Our team is trying the best to get power supply from wherever possible so that farmers can use pumps to irrigate crops, but I have to accept that we have not been able to get required power. There will be some inconvenience, but we are trying our best to ensure at least 10 hours of power supply per day to farmers.”
He further appealed to the common people not to use power unnecessarily. “I urge you not to use air conditioners if not needed; do use whatever is necessary, but cooperate in this situation. I will work day and night to tide over the situation. I will stand by the people and the farmers to save the crops. I urge people to cooperate and Lord Mahakal will bless us to bring us out of the crisis while we will do all possible human work,” Chouhan said.
Nath attacks govt for failure to perceive the situation
Madhya Pradesh Congress chief and ex-CM, Kamal Nath, has lashed out at the government for failure to perceive the weather conditions and power supply requirements. “Shivraj ji is the first man in the world who is giving a shock to even the electricity. When there were normal conditions in the state, the chief minister doesn't tire of saying there was surplus electricity in Madhya Pradesh and today, when electricity is really needed, Shivraj ji has plunged the entire state, especially the rural areas, into the darkness of power cuts. Now the chief minister is saying that we want to buy electricity but electricity is not available. Chief minister, the forecast of monsoon starts coming from April itself. The information about poor rainfall chances hasn’t suddenly come in September. Now you are pretending to dig a well when a fire is already on. The power crisis has come not because of deficient rainfall but because of the negligence, inefficiency and short-sightedness of the government,” Nath wrote on social media platform X.
Nath had taken up the issue on Sunday morning too, urging the government to ‘come out of festive mode and start crop damage survey immediately to provide relief to farmers.' “This time a severe drought situation is prevailing in the state. Most parts of the state have received less rainfall. The reservoirs have not been filled completely. Crops are drying up. Most of the farmer population of the state is being directly affected by this. The people of the state have seen in the past that the Shivraj government turns disaster into an opportunity in its own interest and creates panic among the people. People need true intentions, not false promises,” he said.