Monsoon still weak; deficit stays at 19%

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 1 2009, 04:42am hrs
After making a swift progress during the week ending July 22, which reduced the seasons cumulative monsoon deficit to 19% from the earlier deficit of 27%, the southwest monsoon seems to have hit a rough patch.

As per the India Meteorological Departments (IMD) latest data, cumulative monsoon deficit for the week ending July 29 stayed flat at 19%, largely due to an 18% deficiency in monsoon rains on a week-on-week basis. Last week, monsoon rains on a week-on-week basis were 43% above normal. The big reason for this abrupt slow down in the progress of monsoon has been subdued activity in most of southern India during the week with deficiency of about 70%.

However, the storage of 81 major reservoirs across the country, improved slightly mainly on account of good showers over western, central and northwestern parts of the country during the week.

As per the Central Water Commission, water levels in the reservoirs rose to 35% of capacity in the week to July 30, up from 23% a week earlier. Meanwhile, the IMD data also showed that till July 29, around 17 meteorological sub-divisions out of the 36 had received excess or normal rains, while 19 received scanty or deficient rains.

Till last week, the number of sub-divisions receiving scanty and deficient rains was exactly the same. Overall this year, around 62% of the districts in the country had received scanty or deficient rains till now, while 38% received excess or normal rains. Rainfall in the high foodgrain growing states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar continued to be vastly below normal. During the week ending July 29, monsoon rains in east and west Uttar Pradesh, which grows significant quantity of rice and sugarcane, got around 46% and 60% deficient rainfall. In Punjab, the rainfall is around 30% deficient, which has improved from last weeks 49% deficiency.

In Bihar, the monsoon is still around 49% deficient this year, while in Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi it is around 58% less than normal this year. However, Met department officials said monsoon rains might improve over the northwestern states in the days to come.

The deficient monsoon has started having a telling impact on kharif sowing. According to government officials paddy crop sowing is lagging by around 60 lakh hectares this year, mainly due to delayed arrival of southwest monsoon and its patchy progress thereafter.