Scanty rain so far in 80 pc of country

Monsoon to pick up steam in July, August

Scanty rain so far in 80 pc of country

The first month of the monsoon season has been a cause for alarm. Barring a brief spell of rain, the south-west monsoon has played truant, leaving 80 per cent of the country hot and dry.

Weather scientists see no early sign of the monsoon’s revival.

The latest data released by the India Meteorological Department showed almost 80 per cent of India, barring the southern peninsula, receiving deficient to scanty rainfall leading to delay in sowing of kharif crops in many parts.

Scientists monitoring the progress of annual rainfall said they do not expect any sign of revival of the monsoon in the near future. “There is a stagnation in the monsoon and it may continue for the rest of June,” Swati Basu, director of the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting, told Deccan Herald.

In central India, which has emerged as a key wheat-producing region, the rainfall deficiency has been a staggering 54 per cent for the period ending Tuesday.

In the north-western region comprising the granary states of Punjab and Haryana, monsoon rainfall has been 47 per cent lower than average.

Basu attributed the situation to an anti-cyclonic flow over central India that was not allowing easterly winds to penetrate the north-west parts of the country, leaving the region dry.

Uncertainty over the monsoon’s progress has led to a delay in the sowing of key summer crops such as cotton, soya bean, pulses and coarse grains across many parts of the country.

However, weather scientists have not hit the panic button yet. They expect the monsoon to pick up steam in July and August, considered the key months for the country’s agriculture sector, a source of livelihood for over 20 crore farmers.

They argue that in many parts of north-west and central India, sowing starts in the first or second week of July.

In 2010, there was deficient rainfall in June, but the shortfall was covered during July and August. “Around 30-40 per cent of the deficiency in June can be offset by good rainfall in July,” a weather scientist said.

Normal rainfall has been witnessed only in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, south-interior Karnataka, Rayalaseema, Bihar, eastern Madhya Pradesh and Gangetic West Bengal. In the rest of India, monsoon has either been deficient or scanty.

In April, the weather office had forecast a below normal monsoon, citing the probability of an increase in sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific—the El Nino phenomenon, known to cause drought in South Asia.

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