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Good August showers lower monsoon deficit
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 1
Heavy August showers have significantly bridged the monsoon deficit, much to the relief of the Centre, which has been facing a volley of demands from the drought-hit states. What’s more, more rainfall is expected in the coming week and it may further lower the present shortfall of 12 per cent.

Good rains have helped Punjab shift from the most dangerous “scanty” rain category to a relatively better off “deficient” position. Currently, 13 of the 36 subdivisions of the country, including Haryana, Delhi and Chandigarh, are rain deficient.

Some experts believe that even though the dreaded monsoon adversary El Nino has set in the Pacific, its impact may not be so severe. A couple of other parameters related to the monsoon are turning favourable in the Indian Ocean which may nullify the ill-effects of the El Nino phenomenon to some extent. If this happens, the fag end of the monsoon in September may not be so bad after all. The India Meteorological Department, however, is treading cautiously.

Last week, the country received the highest all-India rainfall of the season - 6 % above long period average (LPA) - resulting in the nationwide rainfall deficit improving by 2%. Now the deficit stands at 12% - a vast improvement over the staggering 21-22% deficiency recorded during July and 19-20% in the beginning of August. Low pressure areas and other embedded vortices saw the monsoon trough remaining active on most days, leading to vigorous monsoon conditions over parts of the northwest and the southern Peninsula.

As the monsoon enters its last phase (June-September), the northwest deficit stands at 15%. Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi have also done reasonably well, lowering their shortfall to 44%. Punjab’s shortfall has come down to 55% from 61% last week. The figure for Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi was 56%.

Rain momentum in the North has also raised the ground water level and improved reservoir conditions. This means better Rabi crop output. The week saw area under kharif rice increase to 347.10 lakh hectare, significantly higher than last week’s 329.19 lakh hectare and the normal area of 331.85 lakh hectare for this time of the year. However, sowing of other kharif crops like coarse cereals, oilseeds and pulses has been affected.





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