Delhi got its first rain — a light drizzle — of the season on Sunday after days of extreme heat as agriculture minister Sharad Pawar said in Mumbai the country was not faced with a drought-like situation.
The weather office described the Delhi showers as pre-monsoon; the real thing is expected on or around July 1. Historically, monsoon reaches the capital on June 29, which is Monday.
The monsoon is on the move again, after a lag of 12 days, which had led the government to say it’s going to be below normal. But experts had said if the monsoon made up for the delay, it would be all right, though still short.
Nearly 60 per cent of India’s cultivable area of 140 million hectares is dependent on rain and the monsoon is crucial for Kharif crops such as rice, soybean, sugarcane and cotton.
The monsoon hit Kerala on May 23, ahead of schedule, but got stuck around the Deccan plateau because no low-pressure area developed in time over the Bay of Bengal to pull it northward.
It’s now been raining in Mumbai for two days, bringing with it the usual flooding.
The same story in Bihar, which received the season’s first monsoon showers on Sunday.
“Monsoon rains have finally hit Bihar,” said meteorological department director S.I. Lashkar, adding, “heavy rains lashed differed parts of Bihar marking the arrival of monsoon.”
“... there is no drought-like situation in the country. The monsoon is delayed by about 12 days in June," Pawar told reporters in Mumbai.
He said that the programme of sowing seeds, which was carried out with the help of state governments, is delayed by just a week. "This not a cause for worry," he said.
Pawar said the monsoon is advancing from Maharashtra to other parts of the country like Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, and parts of Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.
"... the trend is quite encouraging and the major sowing period is July and August," he said, adding that the country's foodgrain production is likely to be the same as that of last year. In the 2008-09 crop year, the country produced about 230 million tonnes of foodgrain.
Pawar said, "The Indian Meteorological Department has forecast that the monsoon will be 93 per cent in July and 101 per cent in August; if it is correct, the question of drought does not arise."
He said, “The stock situation of the country is quite comfortable" as India procured over 50 million tonnes of rice and wheat in the current marketing season.
(With PTI, IANS)