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Extended monsoon in North may cloud CWG
Met predicts rain in Oct first week, OC works on Plan B for opening ceremony
Vibha Sharma & Kumar Rakesh
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 7
As if the delays caused by glacial pace of work and poor management were not enough, now even the weather gods are determined to make things more difficult for the Commonwealth Games organisers.

After bestowing bountiful rains on the Northwest region this year, it now appears that the monsoon is in no hurry to leave. Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) director general Ajit Tyagi told The Tribune that monsoon would start withdrawing from the westernmost part of the Northwest only by mid-September, which is at least two weeks later than normal. “Monsoon withdrawal is delayed from west Rajasthan and may now occur after September 15. States like Punjab and Haryana, which generally see the end of season by around September 15, are also likely to experience an extended monsoon phase this year,” he said. This means that widespread showers will continue in the region in the coming days.

If the data of past 100 years is taken into account, there is a very good possibility of rainfall in the first week of October, when the Commonwealth Games begin.

If it rains on October 3, the day of the opening ceremony, it would be very much a goodbye to all the grandiose plans of the Organising Committee, whose chairman Suresh Kalmadi has claimed that the ceremony would be the best ever for a sporting event of this scale.

The helium balloon, which has been imported at a whopping cost, and many other attractions at the ceremony would be in jeopardy. Sources told The Tribune that the Games panel has now begun anticipating the worst and started looking for alternatives.

As such, Wizcarft, the producer of the opening show, has expressed its frustration over lack of rehearsals for the event. Its artistes would hardly get more than a week for rehearsals against the original period of a month, if all goes well from here onwards.

The incessant rains have harmed the surface at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, which has sunk at several places. Though the Central Public Works Department has spread around tonnes of sand to harden the surface and remove the wetness, the continual rains have not helped matters.

The show producer has told the Group of Ministers overseeing the CWG event that more rains could sink the surface further and would make it very difficult for them to hold the event. Meanwhile, from the agriculture point of view, more rains are not much of a problem.

Good rains have already helped in boosting area under kharif crops, which till last week was estimated to be around 966 lakh hectare, almost 83 lakh hectare more than last year, with big gains in paddy, pulses and oilseeds. As per Chengal Reddy of the Consortium of Indian Farmers Associations (CIFA), the paddy production is a not going to affected by the delay in withdrawal of monsoon. He said in certain areas farmers may have to face lose of some percentage of crop if there is excess water. “Excess water may lead to complications like grain losses, submersion, not maturing of certain percentage of grain, decolouration, wastage in harvesting and transport.

But this year we will have a bumper crop and problem before the government will be of storage,” he says. Widespread rains in the past two-three weeks have already brought monsoon showers to the long-term average level. Nearly all regions have received good rainfall while the East and the Northeast have been 21% lower than the long period average (LPA). Between June 1 and September 1, the country received rains equivalent to 99% of the LPA as against the expected 102%.





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