NEW DELHI: The onset of southwest monsoon over Kerala has been delayed from the date forecast by the Met department due to its “sluggish” pace.

But the India Meteorological Department (IMD) finally has some good news for the people of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, northern Rajasthan and Western UP. According to IMD, people in the aforesaid region will have some respite from heatwave as thundershowers were expected from June 1-3. Heatwave has claimed almost 2,000 people in the country so far, making it the fifth deadliest ever in the world and second deadliest in India.

Fear of low rainfall. ReutersFear of low rainfall. Reuters

Fear of low rainfall. Reuters

The normal date for onset of monsoon over Kerela is June 1. It also marks the official onset on rains in the country. This year, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) had predicted that it will hit the southern state on May 30.

According to Skymet, a private forecasting agency, monsoon arrived over Andaman and Nicobar Islands on May 16, three days prior to the onset date. Since then, the advance has been slow. By May 21, the southwest monsoon advanced over Bay of Bengal touching southern parts of Sri Lanka. But here on, the monsoon stagnated for a week.

“The Arabian Sea branch of the southwest monsoon made very slow advance and is yet to reach the extreme southern tip (Kerala) of India. Cloud build up on either side of the sea was looking promising till a few days back for the timely onset over Kerala. However, it slowed down as the cloud pattern became a little diffused and unorganised,” Skymet said.

However, the IMD has refused to call it a delay, but said that the progress was sluggish. “As per our forcast, there is +/- difference of four days, which is from May 27 to June 3.

“At this moment, monsoon has already entered the Arabian Sea, crossed Sri Lanka and entered the Bay of Bengal. We are closely monitoring its progress. During the progress of monsoon, it is often observed that its pace varies,” said Krishnanand Hosalikar, Deputy Director, IMD.

But pre-monsoon rain is still being observed in Karnataka and Kerala.

“In the last 24 hours, Karnataka has observed good rainfall. Kerala too experienced good rains on May 28 with Pampakuda in Ernakulam district recording 55mm of rains. Udayanampuram in Kottayam district received 37mm of rains while Mundathicode in Thrissur observed 30mm of rainfall.

On May 29, the rainfall activity in Kerala became minimal with isolated places receiving very light rain.

“However, in the last 24 hours, some rainfall has been observed in the state but the weather activity has been patchy in nature, which is not the characteristic of monsoon,” Skymet added.

The timely onset of the south-west monsoon is crucial for sowing of kharif (summer) crops such as paddy and a deficit in rainfall may hit output.

Agriculture, which contributes only 15 per cent to India’s Gross Domestic Product ( GDP) but employs about 60 per cent of population, is heavily dependent on the monsoon as only 40 per cent of the cultivable area is under irrigation.

Last year, the country had received 12 per cent less rains, which hit production of grains, cotton and oilseeds.

Agriculture growth stood at 0.2 per cent in 2014-15 fiscal.

According to the government’s estimate, total foodgrains production has declined to 251.12 million tonnes in 2014-15 crop year (July-June) from a record production of 265.04 million tonnes last year.

PTI

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Thundershowers expected in Punjab, Delhi & Western UP between 1st and 3rd June: IMD