* Highest shortfall among India’s four regions
GUWAHATI, July 20: Even though these are early days of the monsoon, people of the north-eastern region have started suffering from fear and apprehension that they might face a drought-like situation going by the present trend of poor rainfall.
Majority of the north-eastern States are experiencing rainfall deficit. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) in its latest monsoon report has stated that the NE region has been experiencing deficit rainfall of 27 per cent which is the worst deficit among the four regions of India. The past one week has been grim with the region reeling under a 49 per cent rainfall deficit.
The State-wise rainfall distribution data from June 1 to July 17 released by the IMD shows that Manipur has received 69 per cent deficit rainfall which is the highest in the country since the onset of monsoon in June this year. Nagaland has recorded 38 per cent deficit rainfall followed by 32 per cent in Arunachal Pradesh, 42 per cent in Meghalaya and 26 per cent in Assam. During this phase (June 1 to July 17) two NE States —Tripura and Mizoram have received normal rainfall.
An official at the Regional Meteorological Centre at Borjhar here told The Sentinel that the deficit rainfall trend is not restricted to the current monsoon season only. In the last five years, the north-eastern region received less than normal rainfall during the monsoon with deficits ranging from 4 per cent in 2017 to 27 per cent in 2013.
The post-monsoon rainfall scenario in the North East is also a cause for concern with the region recording 69 per cent, 59 per cent and 24 per rainfall deficit in 2014, 2015 and 2017, respectively.
A professor of Environment Science at Gauhati University while quoting a research paper published in the International Journal of Climatology in May 2012, said even though the variability of rainfall, or the degree to which rainfall varies through time, has been historically low in the north-eastern States, it is now changing because of climate change and thus affecting agriculture and water availability in the region.
“The high relative variability and inter-annual variability of rainfall have created increased occurrence of droughts and floods in the recent times, leading to uncertainty in yield and increased agricultural vulnerability,” the professor said while quoting another research paper on the climate change vulnerability of North East India.
The professor, however, said as the monsoon lingers till September in NE, the rainfall deficit could be compensated by heavy rains in the next two months.