Monsoon rains are likely to reach most parts of the country a week or more later than the normal schedule.
But the delay is unlikely to affect farmers, weather officials and agriculture scientists said on Tuesday.
By now, monsoon should have covered all of Bihar, most parts of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and the Gangetic plains of Uttar Pradesh, but it is stuck around the Deccan Plateau and the coastline of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa.
The delay is not a cause for worry, because farmers can always postpone sowing by a week or so, said A.K.Singh, deputy
director general of Indian Council of Agricultural Research.
“ There is no need to push the panic button now because one week’s delay is normal,” Singh said.
What is important for a good crop is that the distribution of rains remains even and timely through the farming season, and that the quantum of it doesn’t fall much short of the normal levels.
The India Meteorology Department has predicted this year’s rainfall to be around 96 per cent of the historical average of 89 centimeters, with a possible deviation of about 5 percentage points either way.
If the rainfall ranges between 96 per cent and 105 per cent, it is considered normal.
“The overall rains may not be below normal" this year, said B.N.Goswami, director of Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology.
“If you look at the history it is part of the natural variability of the progression of monsoon which is slow in some years and fast in other years.”
IMD Director General Ajit Tyagi told Hindustan Times that his department was sticking to its prediction despite the delay.
He also said that at this point in time, It’s not possible to predict if monsoon would be erratic.
“We cannot precisely where and how much rainfall would take place.”
This year, monsoon hit Kerala a week ahead of its normal date (June 1), but stopped advancing after June 7 because of a cyclone in the Bay of Bengal.
Cyclone Aila weakened the current by cooling the temperature over Bay of Bengal and preventing formation of a trough — a low-pressure area hot enough to pull monsoon in its direction.
Weather officials believe a trough is now forming in the Bay of Bengal that will help monsoon advance to the central and northern states in a week’s time.
“We expect from June 20 onwards there will be a revival of monsoon,” said Tyagi. “We expect it to reach Delhi near its normal date (June 29), with a possible variation of 4-5 days.”
Monsoon normally reaches Delhi and the northwestern parts of the country by June 29. By July 15, it usually covers all parts of the country, which “it will actually do,” Tyagi said.