The monsoon arrived in Delhi and a number of other northern states on Tuesday, bringing temporary relief from the intense heat wave that had gripped the region in the past few days.
The day temperature fell sharply from a high of over 40 degrees Celsius to a pleasant 25 degrees.
<b1>The rains were just a day late in the Capital, belying the fears raised by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) that they would be delayed by a fortnight. Most Delhi schools had already extended their summer vacations by at least a week.
The IMD had earlier forecast that rains this year would be seven per cent short of the normal. But if the trend set by Tuesday’s heavy rain continues, this could well turn out to be an underestimation.
“Even at the IMD’s rainfall forecast of 93 per cent, agricultural output should be good,” Abhijit Sen, planning commission member, told PTI.
Rains have now hit the entire country barring parts of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. “The southwest monsoon is now established in most parts,” said Ajit Tyagi, IMD director-general.
Many state governments, however, are still worried. Rains in June have been considerably lower than normal.
Maharashtra has received less than half the rainfall it should have got by now and has imposed water cuts in most big cities. Both Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh have worked out contingency plans for sowing of crops other than paddy, which need less water.
“We expect good rains through the first half of July,” said Tyagi.
(with agency and state bureaus inputs)