Waiting in anger for monsoon: Drought in Manipur, protests in Delhi


New Delhi/Chandigarh/Imphal : It has been a wait in anger and desperation for the monsoon in scorched north India as Delhi saw protests over power cuts and water shortage, while even Manipur in the northeast officially declared itself drought hit after the failure of rains. But the weatherman has good news – the long-delayed rains have hit central India and are heading north soon.

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Power and water woes of 17 million residents of the capital continued Saturday, with citizens taking to the streets yet again to protest the crippling shortages. People blocked traffic, vandalized offices of power distribution companies and demonstrated outside the home of state Power Minister A.K. Walia.

At several places in east Delhi, across the river Yamuna, people blocked traffic and vandalized offices of power service providers, a police official said.

East, north and outer Delhi areas were powerless for five to nine hours Friday night following what authorities said was the failure of a power grid in the capital.

“Life has become a living hell in national capital these days, in last 48 hours we have got power supply for only eight-10 hours. Inverters have stopped working. In my building I could hear the voices of babies crying the whole night as they can’t sleep in this terribly hot weather,” Parvez Akhtar, a resident of Jamia Nagar area in south Delhi, told IANS.

The maximum temperature recorded in the national capital Saturday was 43.7 degrees Celsius, five notches above the average, while minimum settled at 31.6 degrees Celsius, three degrees above the average.

Residents of the union territory of Chandigarh and the states of Punjab and Haryana also continued to reel under the scorching summer heat.

Hisar town in Haryana was the hottest in the region at 45.2 degrees Celsius, meteorological officials said. Ambala and Karnal towns in Haryana recorded 41 and 41.2 degrees Celsius respectively.

The Manipur government Saturday declared the state as drought-hit, saying agriculture was badly hit due to scanty monsoon rains, officials said. The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting chaired by Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh.

The relief and disaster management department has been put on an alert with officials asked to review the damage caused to agriculture due to the unusual dry climate.

There has been a deficit of nearly 40 percent rainfall in Manipur during the month of June compared to last year.

The weatherman however had some good news to offer. Delhi and its neighbouring states can expect some respite from the sweltering heat with a met official Saturday predicting pre-monsoon showers in the region by month-end.

“Northern India including Delhi is likely to witness pre-monsoon showers by June-end or the start of July. The monsoon is expected to reach Delhi by the first week of July,” Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) Director General Ajit Tyagi told IANS.

The monsoon Saturday further advanced into the central India, leading to rainfall in some parts of Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Chattisgarh. Isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall is also likely over west coast, Assam and Meghalaya, east Uttar Pradesh during next 48 hours.

This indicates that the conditions are favourable for further advance of southwest monsoon over some more parts of Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Orissa and remaining parts of West Bengal and Sikkim and some parts of Bihar, Jharkhand and east Uttar Pradesh during next two-three days.

“Current meteorological conditions and forecasts suggest that rainfall is likely to occur in many places over east and central India,” Tyagi said.

The monsoon covered Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh by Saturday.

“Following the advance of the monsoon, the plains of northwest India are likely to experience thundershower activity from the beginning of July, giving respite from high temperatures,” he said.

The IMD has forecast a below average monsoon this year with country likely to receive only 93 percent of the expected rainfall.