New Delhi: Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal had announced that rainfall would be 'near normal' this year, but the real situation is much different than the prediction. However, India Meteorological Department (IMD) still insists that the rainfall will be normal in time to come, but farmers from the worst affected states are not buying it.
"We expect the monsoon to be near normal this year," said a rather optimistic Mr Sibal.
However, the reality is that the June to September monsoon, which accounts for four-fifth of the nation's annual rainfall, was 33 per cent below average in the week ended July 23.
Kishore Aggarwal, a farmer from the distressed district of Vidharbha has been waiting for the rains since April. But like many others he too is frustrated waiting for the rains.
"I don't trust the government records anymore. We feel that this is a conspiracy against us," he says.
It's the same story in Andhra Pradesh's Warangal, where Malliah another farmer has been helplessly waiting for the rains.
"We are helpless and are only trying our luck," he says.
While the south and west are reeling under drought-like conditions, rain gods have blessed northern parts of the country.
"At present in general the entire southern parts of India is having deficient rainfall activity, however, in the north there is a lot of rain," explains Dir-Weather Central, Met Dept, A B Mazumdar.
And farmers in north India are reaping the benefits of a good monsoon.
"We have benefited from the monsoon and we saved fuel," says Gurudev Singh, a farmer in the Roopnagar area of Punjab.
With the uneven bouts of rainfall not expected to ease any time soon, the government faces another challenge this time of taming a setback in the agriculture sector.