Southwest Monsoon stops in tracks again

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).

PTI



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

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