New Delhi: India’s weather office has forecast widespread rainfall in most regions in the next five days, calming fears of extensive crop damage in the country where only 40% of the farmland is irrigated.
In the next two days heavy rains are expected in the western Gujarat state, a key cotton and oilseeds producer, and many places in Madhya Pradesh where soybean is being planted.
The India Meteorological Department has also predicted rains in parts of Jharkhand, where the local government has said some districts are drought hit.
Rainfall is expected to increase after two days, it said.
In its outlook for 19-21 July, it said: “Active monsoon condition is likely to continue with the likely formation of a low pressure area over northwest Bay of Bengal.”
“Fairly widespread rainfall activity is likely over west coast, central India, east and northwest India,” it said.
A weak start to the vital June-September monsoon rains stoked fears of crop failure, encouraging the government to ban wheat exports and prepare contingency plans.
But the weather office said on Wednesday that rainfall had improved in the past two days and finance minister Pranab Mukherjee told parliament that while the slow progress of monsoons was a concern, the situation was not alarming.