New Delhi: The Tamil Nadu state government on Tuesday said that 18 people had been killed so far in rain-related incidents in the state due to Cyclone Vardah.
However, Union Agriculture Secretary Shobhana K Pattanayak said that Vardah has brought much-needed rains in water-stressed areas of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, and will boost rice sowing.
Rice sowing has been lagging behind in the ongoing rabi season in parts of southern states, bringing down the country’s total paddy acreage to 8 lakh hectares till last week of the rabi season from 10.98 lakh hectares in the same period last year, as per official data.
“We have got reports from Andhra Pradesh government this morning. In fact, the cyclone has brought rains and has helped farmers in Andhra Pradesh. Water has come and rice sowing, which was slow, is picking up,” Pattanayak told.
The impact on agriculture in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka still needs to be assessed. “We have not got any report as of now. It will be very beneficial out there also,” he said.
In its latest release, the Met Department said some parts of Kancheepuram, Vellore, Tiruvallur, Salem, Krishnagiri, Tiruvannamalai and Villupuram in Tamil Nadu received rainfall. In coastal Andhra Pradesh, parts fo Nellore and Prakasam received heavy rains, it added.
For next 12 hours, the Met has issued a “warning” that it is “very likely” that there will be rainfall at many places with isolated heavy falls over north interior Tamil Nadu and adjoining areas of south interior Karnataka and north Kerala.
Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Deputy Director General J S Sandhu said the cyclone has brought some relief to farmers in water-stressed pockets of coastal areas in south India. This will benefit rice sowing operation.
The three states contribute about 30 per cent of rice to the country’s total production of 104.32 million tones achieved in 2015-16 crop year (July-June).