Blame it on the changing pattern of seasons or the El Nino effect, Bengal is headed for a wet Durgotsav 2012. The Centre has already declared a delayed withdrawal of monsoon from most parts of the country, and chances are that it will pour deep into October, the time when Kolkata and the rest of the state decks up for its grand festival.
The monsoon starts withdrawing from the country in the first week of September, but Union agriculture secretary Ashish Bahuguna, who is closely observing the rains, expected delay because of the emergence of what is called the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), also known as the Indian Nino. It means unusual warming of the Indian Ocean surface resulting in stronger monsoon showers.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) expects El Nino — warming of the Pacific that can cause drought and floods — to weaken the September rainfall. Bahuguna, however, said El Nino would have no major impact because of a strong IOD.
The late monsoon showers have brought relief for the government, with drought-like conditions easing in most parts of India, including Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra and West Bengal. The government believes that agriculture growth can be in positive after estimating a flat growth because of drought-like conditions.
The IMD has forecast more rainfall in September and October. “Rainfall would occur at most places in the northern and eastern parts and peninsular India,” said the IMD’s forecast released on Thursday.
Although the August rainfall has improved agriculture prospects, Bahuguna expected crop health to improve further with the September rainfall. The total area under kharif crops was down at 32.9 million hectares as on August 24, against 34.2 million hectares in the same period last year.