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Delay in rain over Indo-Gangetic Plains likely to hit paddy sowing

Published on Jul 30, 2022 12:07 AM IST

Only isolated rain is expected over the Indo-Gangetic plains region till the first week of August, according to the IMD. The delay is the result of the monsoon trough shifting north of its normal position

Delay in rain over Indo-Gangetic Plains likely to hit paddy sowing
ByJayashree Nandi

A prolonged break in the monsoon has set over the Indo-Gangetic plains till August and is likely to hamper the critical paddy sowing season across north and east India, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Friday.

Only isolated rain is expected over the Indo-Gangetic plains region till the first week of August, according to the IMD. The delay is the result of the monsoon trough shifting north of its normal position.

A monsoon trough is an elongated low-pressure area that usually extends from Pakistan to the Bay of Bengal and plays a pivotal role in rainfall across the country A shift southwards of its normal position brings an active monsoon over the major part of the country, while a shift north of its normal means a weak monsoon over the country and heavy rainfall along the Himalayan foothills, according to the IMD.

HT had reported on July 27 that weak monsoon conditions are likely to set in across the country for at least the next one week, with the trough likely to shift northwards.

The delay in sowing is likely to lead to rise in prices of certain food items, experts said. The development comes at a time when inflation is already raging across the country.

According to IMD data, there is 9% excess rain over the country currently with 16% deficiency over east and northeast India; 4% excess over northwest India; 21% excess over central India and 28% excess over south peninsula.

In July, there was 19.1% excess rain till Friday with 47.3% deficiency over east and northeast India; 50.1% over central India; 63% excess over peninsular India and 10.1% excess over northwest India.

But as on Friday, most of the paddy belt in the Indo-Gangetic plains recorded over 40% rain deficiency. Gangetic West Bengal recorded deficiency of 47%; Jharkhand 50%; Bihar recorded 41% deficiency; east Uttar Pradesh 52%; west Uttar Pradesh 47% deficiency. Over Peninsular India, Kerala and Mahe recorded 25% rain deficiency.

“Rainfall has reduced across the country over the past two days with the shifting of the monsoon trough northwards. The rain excess over the country has also reduced from 11% to 9% today (Friday). Central India and Peninsular India haven’t received much rain in the past two days while parts of northwest India recorded isolated rain,” said RK Jenamani, senior scientist, national weather forecasting centre of the IMD.

“We are expecting rains to pick up over northeast India now but only isolated rain is likely over Bihar, UP, Gangetic WB etc. The monsoon trough is likely to shift further northwards and remain there at least till August 2. Models are showing that the trough may shift southwards thereafter. But we cannot confirm that immediately,” Jenamani added.

“Paddy has been badly impacted this year because there has been very scanty rain over the Indo-Gangetic plains states. But problem is the deficiency will not recover very soon as we don’t expect active monsoon to resume immediately,” said Mahesh Palawat, vice president, climate and meteorology, at Skymet Weather.

The delay is likely to have a chain reaction on sowing of several key crops, according to GV Ramanjaneyulu, executive director at the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture in Hyderabad.

“Till the middle of August, sowing will not happen in most parts of east India. This will have widespread impact on farmers, as well as common people. One of the problems is that it will also delay Rabi crops as we are expecting a very long dry spell in between until mid-August. Those who have already sown paddy will also face difficulty,” he said.

Production of oilseeds and pulses is also likely to take a hit if these conditions persist, he added.

“This will not only impact paddy but also soya in Madhya Pradesh and several other pulses including red gram, green gram and black gram. Red gram is especially vulnerable to this lag. Moreover, oilseeds like groundnut and sunflower are also likely to be affected. This is because there was hardly any rain over east India in July and now this weak monsoon spell during the crucial sowing period. These impacts will likely to lead to higher inflation in food,” he said.

However, because of the presence of localised troughs extending across north interior Karnataka-Comorin and south interior Karnataka- interior Tamil Nadu, isolated rainfall is expected across several states, shows IMD data. But this precipitation is not enough to cover the rain deficit in the Indo-Gangetic plains.

Widespread rainfall with isolated heavy rain and thunderstorms or lightning is very likely over Jammu & Kashmir and West Uttar Pradesh on Friday; Himachal Pradesh from Friday to Sunday; Uttarakhand from Friday to August 2; Punjab, Haryana on Saturday and over East Uttar Pradesh from Sunday to August 2, the weather forecaster has said.

Isolated very heavy rainfall is also very likely over Punjab, north Haryana and Himachal Pradesh on Friday; Uttarakhand till Sunday. Scattered to widespread light to moderate rainfall with thunderstorm and lightning is very likely to continue over Central, West, East and South India during next 4-5 days.

Isolated heavy rain is very likely over East Madhya Pradesh, Coastal & North Interior Karnataka, Marathwada and Madhya Maharashtra on Friday; Jharkhand during till August 2; Bihar till August 2; Gangetic West Bengal on Sunday; Rayalaseema on August 2; Coastal Andhra Pradesh on August 1 and 2; South Interior Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Karaikal, Kerala and Mahe till August 2.

Isolated very heavy rainfall is also likely over Bihar on July 30 and 31, south interior Karnataka and Kerala and Mahe on August 2 and over Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Karaikal till August 2.

Widespread light to moderate rainfall with isolated heavy rain, thunderstorm/lightning is very likely over Sub-Himalayan West Bengal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya and Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura during next 5 days. Isolated very heavy rainfall also very likely over sub-Himalayan West Bengal & Sikkim till August 2.

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