Southwest Monsoon stops in tracks again
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Last Updated: Monday, June 28, 2010, 18:27
New Delhi: Southwest monsoon, lifeline of the country's farm sector, has stopped in its tracks again but weather scientists claimed that the delay is not a cause for worry and expressed hope of a revival within a week.

"Monsoon is not behaving as expected," India Meteorological Department Director General Ajit Tyagi said.

He said a weather system supposed to push the seasonal rainfall phenomenon northwards was fizzling out but hoped that it would strengthen within a week and set things right.

Tyagi said that the country had received 12 per cent deficient rains this season so far. However, he said the trends were "not worrisome yet" but could turn out to be so if the seasonal rains do not pick up momentum by next week.

The southwest monsoon, that powers the trillion-dollar economy of the country, had entered a weak phase on June 18 after covering half of the nation.

A good rainfall in July is very crucial for agriculture as sowing for the kharif crop is at its peak during this period. Over 235 million farmers across the country have been praying for a normal monsoon season this year against the backdrop of a severe drought last year.

Sowing for kharif crops has been picking up momentum across the country and as per Agriculture Ministry reports, paddy has been sown in 24.12 lakh hectares (ha) while oilseeds have been sown in 11.46 lakh ha till June 25.

The country's rice output declined to 89.31 million tonnes last year from the previous year's record 99.18 million tonnes due to the drought.

IMD's chief monsoon forecaster D Sivananda Pai termed the delay as "initial glitches" but refused to raise a warning signal.

"There is nothing to worry this year. July and August will see good rains across the country," Pai, who is also Director of the National Climate Centre, said from Pune.

He attributed the delay to the weakening of the Madden- Julian Oscillation (MJO) -- a pattern of anomalous rainfall that circles the globe -- over the equatorial Indian Ocean.

However, he said that things were a lot better this year when compared to last year.

Monsoon had set in over Kerala on May 31 and formation of cyclone 'Laila' over the Bay of Bengal hastened its advance, particularly in the Northeast.

Later, its progress was halted for almost a week due to formation of cyclone 'Phet' over the Arabian Sea.

On June 25, IMD revised its April forecast and pegged the quantum of rains for the country for June-September period at 102 per cent of the Long Period Average (LPA).


First Published: Monday, June 28, 2010, 18:27

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