By MADHVI SALLY
NEW DELHI: Summer-crop planting across India is 12% higher than it was last year, official estimates show, indicating that the area under cultivation could increase further as annual monsoon rains cover parts of the peninsula and the East.
The weather office on Friday said that the southwest Monsoon was likely to cover some more parts of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, and the Northeast during the next 2-3 days.
In all, the total area under kharif planting has increased to 81.33 lakh hectares from 72.31 lakh hectares a year ago as per government data. The total planting this season is expected to be 1063.10 lakh hectares.
The satisfactory water level in reservoirs has also helped in the kharif planting. According to the Central Water Commission, which monitors 91 major reservoirs in the country, the levels in key reservoirs are higher than they were a year ago.
The reservoirs collectively held 31.862 billion cubic metres of water, 30% more than a year ago, suggesting better availability of water for summer crops. The water level was 7% higher than the 10-year average. These reservoirs have a combined capacity of 157.79 bcm.
Jute and mesta planting has declined: The area under cultivation for both fibre crops has contracted 2.68% to 6.88 lakh hectares.
However, area under other kharif crop was higher than the previous year. Rice planting has seen a rise of 21.98% to 5.51 lakh hectares, with farmers in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, West Bengal, Chattisgarh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu adding to the increase.
Similarly, pulses planting saw an increase of 36.17% at 1.64 lakh hectares and oilseeds by 35.55% to 1.27 lakh hectare.
The area under sugarcane saw a rise of 5.73% to 47.39 lakh hectare and cotton by 42.39% to 14.06 lakh hectare.
The major rise in planting under oilseeds was seen in groundnut, sesamum and soyabean, with higher area reported from the major growing states of Gujarat, Assam, and Arunachal Pradesh.
Planting of pulses – arhar, uradbean, moongbean and other pulses – has picked up in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Assam.
The basins of the Narmada, Ganga, Mahi, Sabarmati, Godavari, Tapi, Mahanadi and the east-flowing rivers of southern India recorded better water levels than the previous year, according to the Central Water Commission report.
Further, the Indus, rivers of Kutch, west flowing rivers in the South, and Godavari had normal storage levels.
The situation was “highly deficient” in the Cauvery and the neighbouring eastern-flowing river basins and the Krishna basin.
Source: Economic Times