Monsoon slows, reservoirs dip 1%

New Delhi: As monsoon makes a sluggish progress, the combined live storage in 81 major reservoirs of the country dipped by one per cent in June to stand at 12 per cent of their designed capacity.

According to latest figures released by the Central Water Commission (CWC) today, the combined live storage in the 81 reservoirs at the beginning of monsoon on June one was 13 per cent of their designed capacity, but dipped to 12 per cent on June 24.

Out of the 81, there are 43 reservoirs where this year’s storage is 80 per cent or less than the average of previous 10 years. In the remaining 38 reservoirs, the storage is more than 80 per cent of the average of previous 10 years.

The storage position in Narmada, Cauvery and Krishna basins is better than average of previous 10 years.

West-flowing rivers of South and rivers of Kutch are flowing close to normal, but the storage position in Ganga, Indus, Mahanadi, Tapi, Sabarmati, Mahi and Godavari basins is deficient, the CWC said.

Monsoon rains, crucial for the country’s trillion-dollar economy, have been 16 per cent deficient and stagnant over central India so far this season but meteorologists are hopeful of a revival soon.

According to statistics released by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the monsoon rains have been 16 per cent below normal for this season, mostly due to sluggish progress. The annual rains have not advanced since June 18 when they covered half of the country.

Financial Express

Hopes rise for monsoon revival

NEW DELHI: There could be some good development on the monsoon front soon. According to the India Meteorological Department, monsoon activity in the peninsular region, which had remained subdued for the past several days, could revive in the next two days.

IMD Director General Ajit Tyagi told journalists that there were ample indications that the monsoon flow could strengthen over the region and start advancing northwards from June 6.

The system could advance over coastal and south interior Karnataka and South Konkan and Goa region including Mumbai by June 10 or 11 and subsequently over more parts of Maharashtra and many parts of Andhra Pradesh and some parts of Gujarat, Orissa and adjoining East India during the week from June 11 to 17.

The positive turn of events is expected in the wake of the weakening of the cyclonic storm over the northern parts of the Arabian Sea and indications that the positive phase of the phenomenon called Madden-Julian Oscillation could increasingly become strong over the Indian Ocean during the next two weeks.

He refuted apprehensions that the cyclonic storm would have taken away the monsoon flow from India as it happened last year when cyclone Aila soon after the onset of the monsoon had led to a break of about one week in monsoon activity.

Noting that no two meteorological situations need be similar, he said that weather prediction models are clearly showing that a fresh strong surge of monsoon activity was well on its way. “There is no need for any worry,” he stressed.

“The cyclonic storm had, no doubt, disrupted the monsoon flow in the peninsular region over the past several days. That is past. It can’t have any adverse influence any more. On the contrary, the system could only have a beneficial impact for the country hereafter.”

Forecast models, he said, are indicating that parts of north and north-western region, including Delhi, could experience some good rainfall activity during June 6 to 8, as the system, which is increasingly weakening, re-curves north-eastwards and moves towards the Pakistan coast.

From THE HINDU

Monsoon may hit Goa in next 48 hours: Met

PANAJI: Steady showers, in a few parts of Goa, brought the mercury down and provided much relief from the searing heat. But that is not the only good news. The south-west monsoon may set in over Goa during the next 48 hours.

“Conditions are favourable for the onset of south-west monsoon over Goa during the next 48 to 72 hours,” K V Singh, director, met department, Altinho, told TOI on Monday.

“Showers received on Sunday and Monday are pre-monsoon showers,” he said. But as the south-west monsoon has advanced over Kerala on Monday, Goa may soon follow on its itinerary. A low-pressure area has formed in the Arabian Sea which is likely to intensify into a depression,” Singh added. This might yield more rain and create favourable conditions for the commencement of the monsoon season on time.

A port warning has been issued as a cautionary signal for vessels going out in view of the likely depression. With regard to any cyclone, Singh said, “Sea wind will be there but not on land.” Mild to heavy thundershowers are likely in various parts of Goa during the next couple of days.

Meanwhile, Margao witnessed a heavy spell as the Met department recorded 80.1 mm of rainfall during the last 24 hours up to 8.30am on Monday, while in other places, the rainfall recorded was: Canacona 29mm, Dabolim 62mm, Mapusa 32.2mm, Mormugao 20.0, Ponda 1.2, Valpoi 9.3 and Panaji 63.8.

From TOI

Monsoon sets in over Kerala

A low pressure over central Arabian Sea may play spoilsport

NEW DELHI: The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Monday announced the arrival of the southwest monsoon in Kerala. It, however, expressed caution over the further progress of the monsoon in view of a low pressure area over the central Arabian Sea.

In a press release, the IMD said the system could advance over coastal and south interior Karnataka and Goa over the next two days. But its later movement would depend on how the low pressure area developed.

According to senior IMD officials, current indications are that the low pressure area may gradually intensify into a cyclonic storm and move initially in a north-westerly direction for the next 48 hours and then re-curve north-eastwards towards Gujarat and the adjoining Pakistan coast.

Speaking to The Hindu, India Meteorological Department Director-General Ajit Tyagi confirmed that the rainfall in the coming days was expected to remain confined to the west coast along the windward side of the Western Ghats, as the winds may not be able to reach up to the top of the mountains and flow over to the leeward side.

Next spell

Consequently, the interior areas of the southern peninsula may not get much rain now. They may have to wait for the next spell, which is expected around June 10, when the positive phase of the phenomenon called Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) is expected to reach the Indian Ocean.

The MJO, which refers to an inter-annual fluctuation of atmosphere pressure over the Indian and western Pacific oceans, comes in the form of alternating cyclonic and anti-cyclonic regions that enhance and suppress rainfall, respectively, and that flows eastward along the Equator.

The MJO influences monsoonal circulation and rainfall by adding moisture during its cyclonic or wet phase. The cyclonic phase is now in the offing for the Indian Ocean region. The phenomenon is named after American atmospheric scientists Roland Madden and Paul Julian.

The arrival of monsoon over Kerala is almost in line with the prediction made by IMD two weeks ago. On May 14, the Department forecast that the system would set in over the State on May 30 with a model error of plus or minus four days.

Kerala is the entry point for monsoon into the Indian mainland. The normal date for the onset over the State is June 1.

By P. Sunderarajan From THE HINDU

Tirunelveli: Be ready to tackle rain-related problems

Make efforts to prevent outbreak of water-borne diseases, Collector tells officials

TIRUNELVELI: Following his recent meeting with top officials of various government departments on gearing up the official machinery to meet any emergency during this monsoon, Collector M. Jayaraman held wide-ranging discussions with heads of local bodies and block development officers on Wednesday to tackle any situation like flash flood or sudden breach in a water body triggered by torrential rain.

Addressing the meeting, Mr. Jayaraman said officials attached to Department of Public Health, in association with local bodies, should make all out efforts to prevent the outbreak of contagious diseases, especially water-borne diseases, which spread normally during the monsoon. Open defecation should be avoided totally. At the same time, civic bodies should ensure the supply of adequately chlorinated drinking water to the public so that possible outbreak of water-borne diseases could be checked effectively.

To improve the ground water table in all unions, rainwater harvesting systems in government offices, private buildings and houses should be revived as monsoon was active in the district for the past several days. Moreover, bunds of irrigation tanks should be strengthened and water bodies deepened utilising the funds available under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme.

“Public living close to water bodies and the course of the rivers should be advised to move to safer places well in advance if there is any possibility of flash floods or unexpected breach in the buds. All schools, community halls, marriage halls across the district should be kept ready till the end of the monsoon to accommodate the affected population at any time. Local body representatives and officials should clearly understand the ways of swiftly evacuating the people in distress and taking them to the nearest safer place,” Mr. Jayaraman instructed.

‘108 ambulance service’

He said the ‘108 ambulance service’ should be used at an optimum level in case of any emergency arising out of sudden flooding and other related natural calamity.

“As the district is situated close to Western Ghats, now experiencing good rainfall, the entire official machinery and the public should be alert to jointly deal with any situation,” the Collector appealed.

He informed that the Minister for Highways Vellakoil M.P. Saminathan would convene a meeting at the Collectorate on Thursday afternoon to review the damage caused to roads during recent rains.

District Revenue Officer P. Ramanasaraswathi, Project Officer, District Rural Development Agency R. Shankar, Revenue Divisional Officers Thamizh Selvi of Tirunelveli and Murthy of Tenkasi, BDOs and elected representatives of various local bodies participated in the meeting.

From THE HINDU

Tirunelveli: Poor rainfall reported

Water level in rain-fed tanks low

TIRUNELVELI: Even as storage level in all irrigation dams in the district and also in the tanks close to the Western Ghats is comfortable, water level in the rain-fed tanks in the plains still remains a cause for concern owing to insufficient rainfall.

The recent low pressure in the Bay of Bengal ensured a significant inflow into the Papanasam, Manimuthar and Servalar dams, major reservoirs of the district, and also into eight other relatively small dams in the Western Ghats.

Consequently, all irrigation tanks close to the Western Ghats are also brimming with water now. However, the inadequate rainfall in the plains has left several hundreds of rain-fed tanks with some water, which is enough only for just 30 days.

Monsoon failure

“As the southwest monsoon this year was a complete failure as for as Tirunelveli district is concerned, storage level in the dams, particularly in Papanasam, Manimuthar and Servalar reservoirs, went down precariously. Consequently we could not release water for the systemised tanks and there is no need to say anything about storage of water in the rain-fed irrigation tanks in the plains during the period between June and September. Now, the rainfall so far registered in the district has benefited only the dams as well as the tanks near Western Ghats,” said a top PWD official here.

Admitted

Admitting it, Joint Director of Agriculture, S. Velusamy said almost all rain-fed tanks in the Sankarankovil, Melaneelithanallur and Maanur had water for only 30 days as rainfall in this region was insufficient.

“Similarly, the present storage level in the rain-fed tanks in Keezhapaavoor and Alangulam region is also not satisfactory. Consequently, water level in the irrigation wells, mostly in these regions, has not improved much. Let us all pray for more rains,” Mr. Velusamy said.

Cultivation

However, he hoped that the area of cultivation of ‘pisanam’ paddy, normally done on 86,000 acres in Tirunelveli and Tuticorin districts, would not be affected as there would be sufficient rainfall in the plains too.

Meanwhile, District Collector M. Jayaraman on Monday released water from Manimuthar dam for the Third and Fourth Reaches under the Manimuthar Irrigation System having 176 irrigation tanks.

“These tanks will feed paddy to be cultivated on 5,603 hectare under the Third Reach and 6,415 hectares in the Fourth Reach. Water will be released from Manimuthar dam for 137 days (till March 31, 2010) based on the farmers’ need,” Mr. Jayaraman told reporters after releasing water from the reservoir.

He said fertilizers and other agricultural inputs had been stocked in the district in adequate quantity and Rs. 39 crore had been disbursed during the current fiscal towards crop loan by the cooperative banks against the target of Rs. 45 crore.

P. Sudhakar – From THE HINDU

How Chennai manages to attract tourists

Growing out of its conservative identity, the city is now projected as a melting pot of cultural festivals

CHENNAI: The monsoon might have stripped the city of its beauty and left it reeling under layers of slush. But Chennai, at this time of the year, has much more to offer than many other tourist destinations. A good number of foreign tourists wade through shin-deep waters and rain-battered roads to get a feel of the city when it is at its creative best.

Cultural fests are all set to kick-off one after another, drawing fine arts buffs from across the world. The city, which had always been a transit point to neighbourhoods, now places itself among popular tourist destinations in the country.

WHAT BRINGS THEM?: Heritage sites and the museum tend to attract foreign tourists. A group of foreign tourists visiting Government Museum in Chennai recently. — Photo: S. Thanthoni.

Growing out of its conservative identity, Chennai is now projected as a melting pot of cultural festivals. The Department of Tourism cashes in on the festivals’ popularity and makes it a strategy for the State’s economic growth.

“There is a perceptible increase in the quantum of tourist inflow in recent years. It reaches its peak in October and the season is on till February. There is a global increase in the outbound tourism everywhere. The city receives a major chunk of foreigners for its cultural shows,” says V. Irai Anbu, Secretary, Department of Tourism.

The December Music Season, primarily to encourage local talents, has now become a global phenomenon. What was seen as an identity of Chennai is now serving as a prime tourist lure.

Veena artist and secretary of Nrithyodaya B. Kannan observes that music season, in its nascent stage, is confined to the second half of December. Now it begins in the second half of November and continues well beyond December. Foreigners make trips during this period to cover all cultural fests.

R.Sundar, secretary of Hamsadhwani, which organises an NRI music festival every year, says the music festival in Chennai was a confluence of the best forms of art and culture. “For the serious listener, it is an opportunity to see competitive spirit among singers in presentation of ragam thanam pallavi. For the foreign audience, dance is an attraction as many of them feel they can relate to India through its art forms.”

For arts’ sake

The Mamallapuram dance festival, which begins late December, is a unique crowd-puller. Every year, over 7,000 foreign tourists hit the heritage site to watch hundreds of performances of traditional folk forms and classical dance forms.

Chennai Sangamam, said to be India’s largest open festival, gives a glimpse of the State’s cultural diversity, highlighting its rich folk art forms, too. Organised during mid-January, coinciding with Pongal, Chennai Sangamam introduces over 4,000 performances every year at parks, streets and beaches.

The Tourism Department, on its part, conducts a month-long trade fair on Island Grounds, Tamil Isai festivals and Pongal festivals to promote the pastoral richness of the State.

The introduction of hop-on-fop-off coaches has propelled the popularity of East Coast Road, which is dotted with a string of tourist spots. Private players capitalise on the growing tourist flow into the ECR, if the mushrooming resorts, restaurants and amusement parks along the stretch are any pointer.

If arts attract a few, many hotels do their part by posting the State’s signature cuisines on internet to lure gourmets. Chennai’s hospitality industry is heavily relying on clients on business visits but the tourist pie is also swelling, says G.Ravi Kumar, Executive Assistant Manager of Green Park Hotels.

Bookings for the TTDC hotels are going on in full swing and the next two months is expected to be the busiest of the year for the hotels, Mr.Irai Anbu said.

Despite being seen as a safe place for tourists, Chennai is bracing itself to make its streets, hotels and highways more tourist-friendly. The Deputy Commissioner of Central Crime Branch, C. Sridhar, insists on foreign tourists who come on a tourist visa holding a list of telephone numbers of police officers in the city that they propose to visit. The phone numbers could be had from their respective embassies.

Mr. Sridhar says the tourists are advised to stay in reputable hotels and be careful when they use credit cards for shopping purposes. Hoteliers urge the government to promote the country as a safer destination as the terrorist attacks prove to be a discouraging factor for many tourists.

(With inputs from S. Aishwarya, Deepa H Ramakrishnan and R. Sujatha)

From THE HINDU