New Delhi: India has so far recorded 3% excess rainfall this monsoon, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Thursday.
North-west and central India have received 10% and 15% more rain, respectively, as compared to the long-period average (LPA), while the southern peninsula has recorded a deficit of 2%. The shortfall is higher in eastern and north-eastern regions, at 16%.
The monsoon has been normal over most of the country so far, barring Kerala, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, and some of the north-eastern states. IMD data shows that 92% of the country has received normal to excess rainfall during the ongoing rainy season.
According to N. Chattopadhyay, deputy director general of the agricultural meteorology division at IMD, Pune, “North-east India and Kerala usually receive heavy rainfall; so, a deficit in these regions is not a cause of worry. Also, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi will be getting normal rainfall in the coming week.”
Heavy to very heavy rain occurred over isolated places in south Rajasthan during the second half of the week ending Thursday.
The IMD has forecast normal rainfall over eastern India till 19 August and in north-west and central parts of the country till 14 August. Peninsular India will receive subdued rainfall till 24 August, it said. According to its weather warning bulletin, heavy to very heavy rains are expected in parts of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh on Friday.
During the last two days, a deep depression was seen moving into Gangetic West Bengal, which will result in heavy rains in areas of Jharkhand and West Bengal which constitute a rice belt.
Farmers in these regions have been advised to dig channels to avoid flooding of fields, Chattopadhyay said.
The June-to-September monsoon is crucial to India’s rain-fed agricultural economy, with its onset launching the sowing season for the kharif or summer crop.
For the past two months, the Gujarat, Saurashtra and Kutch regions have received scant rainfall. But heavy rainfall in the past two weeks have brought the deficit to zero.
The Gujarat state is primarily a cotton and groundnut-growing region. Owing to the rain deficit, farmers were advised to switch to cluster bean and castor. Now, even these crops will benefit, said Chattopadhyay.
This kharif season, farmers across India have cultivated a record area under different varieties of pulses, shows data released by the agriculture ministry last Friday.
So far, an area of 12.1 million hectares has been planted with pulses, over 11% more than the five-year average area sown under the crop.