Monsoon covers Himachal, raises hopes of good crops

Shimla: With the monsoon have hit most valley’s across the hill state, farmers including orchard owners, municipal authorities and irrigation networks are a relieved lot as water stress levels recede and hopes of cash crops maturing out well revive.

“South west monsoon, late by a week, has reached entire Himachal,” said Manmohan Singh, director meteorological station at Shimla. Widespread rains have been recorded across the weather stations in the state with the highest rains at 69.4 mm measured at Dharamshala, he said.

“Sundernagar received 41.9 mm of rain, parched Hamirpur 28 mm, Shimla 9.5 mm, Bhuntar Kullu 5.3 mm and high altitude tribal district headquarters of Keylong 1 mm and Kalpa 1.6 mm,” the met officer reported.

“The rains have come as a timely relief from water stress conditions for fruit crops,” says Gurdev Singh, director horticulture.

The standing apple crop stands to benefit from the rain and would help the fruit to mature in size, increasing value for the orchard owners, he added.

A snow less winter coupled with a long dry spell only now broken by the monsoon has already reduced forecasts of the apple crop to 1.8 crore boxes, down about 30 percent from last year’s recorded 2.55 crore boxes produced.

Off-season vegetable growers too are a happy lot as demand for irrigated water fell with arrival of rains. “the hard summer had practically dried feeding streams and the tomato, cauliflower, capsicum, broccoli, red cabbage and other vegetable crops require regular watering. The rains will help to meet our requirements, said Chet Ram, a vegetable grower from Theog.

The stretched drinking water supply systems to have got respite from the timely rains. “Early monsoon showers have hindered lifting ,” said AN Sharma, municipal commissioner – Shimla, “because silt levels at the water sources rises when it rains after a long dry spell.”

The rain has given us some respite as many residents do resort to rain harvesting, which reduces demand on the regular supply and leaves us with more water that can cater to needs of the people in water deficient localities, he said.

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