"Besides the farmers, water crises looms over major urban and industrial centres."
Nagpur (Maharashtra), June 30 - Farmers of the Vidarbha region in Maharashtra face the grim prospect of poor monsoon this season, an activist said here Monday.

Farmers across hundreds of thousands of acres of land who had sowed cotton, soyabean and other crop seeds, used fertilizers and pesticides since early this month, have suffered losses as the rains have failed so far.

This has put a question mark on the livelihood and survival of over two million farmers in Vidarbha, said Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti chief Kishore Tiwari.

The farmers took loans to buy seeds, fertilizers and pesticides, but rain failure has ruined all the investments. The government must immediately intervene to give crop alternatives which consume less water to minimize the farmers' sufferings, Tiwari told IANS.

The lack of adequate rainfall has created havoc for the second consecutive year, he said.

Last year, a dry spell was followed by floods.

There were heavy unseasonal rains and hailstorms in February-April this year that led to widespread damage. Now, a long dry spell with the possibility of a scarcity or drought-like situation is developing, Tiwari said.

The ongoing extended dry spell and other local conditions have led to a spurt in prices of good seeds. This has encouraged entry of spurious seeds in the market..., Tiwari said.

According to latest reports, the monsoon is likely to set in Maharashtra around July 5, delayed by nearly five weeks.

Besides the farmers, water crises looms over major urban and industrial centres.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, who took stock of the situation last week, has ordered that all existing water resources must be used sparingly and utilized for drinking purposes only.


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