A group of farmers from Beed in central Maharashtra, which has witnessed scanty rains this monsoon, met officials of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) in Pune on Monday and said its "inaccurate" rain forecast misled them.
The farmers, under the banner of Shetkari Sangharsh Samiti, had earlier written two letters to the IMD, alleging that because of the Met department's inaccurate forecast they were facing losses.
Gangabhishan Thavre, one of the farmers, said the IMD had forecast 104 per cent of the average rainfall this year, but the Marathwada region (of which Beed district is a part) is facing a drought now.
"We trusted the forecast and on its basis the sowing was carried out, but due to deficient rainfall, most farmers are facing losses," he said.
A delegation of farmers met IMD officials in Pune and submitted a memorandum demanding that the department take responsibility for the losses, Mr Thavre said.
Lok Sabha member and farmer leader Raju Shetti said his organisation, Swabhimani Shetkari Sangathana, will not hesitate to lock the IMD office if the monsoon forecasts went wrong in future.
"Several parts of the country including Maharashtra are facing drought-like situation. The state government should declare a drought without wasting time and take steps to protect farmers and cattle," Mr Shetti demanded in a statement.