Around 550 villages out of the over 700 in Osmanabad district of Maharashtra are facing acute water shortage as the area has received only 15 per cent rainfall this monsoon season, officials said. There is only 0.74 per cent water stock in 225 reservoirs in the district, located in the parched Marathwada region, and the groundwater level has also dipped, causing concern among farmers and locals, they said.
Nearly 234 water tankers have been pressed into service to cope up with the crisis, as per figures provided by the revenue department. "Out of the total 737 villages in Osmanabad, 550 are facing acute water scarcity due to the deficient monsoon this year. The district has received only 15 percent rain so far, even as half of the monsoon period is nearly over," an official in the agriculture department said.
The Kharif crops are suffering damage for want of rain and some farmers have been forced to sell their cattle as they cannot afford to buy fodder for them, a source in the department said. This year, the Kharif crops have been sown only in 1.43 lakh hectares out of the total four 4 lakh hectares of land available for it, as per data provided by the department.
District superintending agriculture officer Umesh Ghatge said they are still hopeful of getting some good rains to save the crops. "The sown Kharif crops will survive if it rains adequately this week," he said.
Sanjay Mantri, president of the district Vyapari Mahasangh, an organization of agriculture market traders, said businesses have been severely affected in Osmanabad due to the deficient monsoon. "The losses suffered by farmers and businessmen have cumulatively affected the district's financial condition," he said.
Some people have demanded that the state government take up cloud seeding in the Marathwada region, which is a perennially drought-hit area. The cloud seeding procedure uses an array of chemicals to aid precipitation in clouds..
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