North-west India might have received 12 per cent more rainfall but central India was deficient by 15 per cent while South Peninsula reels under a deficit of 13 per cent. Though rains in east and North-east India are low by four per cent, Bihar - a key rice producing state, faces a shortage of 16 per cent.
Rainfall in South Peninsula is also deficient by 6 per cent even as areas like Kerala remain under deficit of 32 per cent. Rains in north interior Karnataka are also down by 33 per cent. Rainfall in the key central Indian state of Gujarat is also short by a massive 54 per cent.
With 288.8 mm rain in June, monsoon is deficient by six per cent in India so far. Kharif sowing might have picked up in North-west India, but is reported to be under duress in central India with predictions of a substantial decline in the kharif acreage and crop yield if rains did not pick up in the approaching days, sources in the agriculture ministry said.
"It is certainly a cause of concern. There is a fair possibility of decline (in the acreage). But we hope rains would pick up in these regions," a senior ministry official said. Admitting that farmers in the deficient regions are under stress, JPS Dabas, the principal scientist at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute(IARI), said, "Sowing may be down by five to seven per cent and may further increase if monsoon does not behave in the coming days though nothing conclusive could be said at this early stage."
According to Dabas, Madhya Pradesh has crops like soybean, arhar, moong, cotton and groundnut, which could withstand some dryness. "Though north and central Gujarat mainly has dryland crops, the effect is certainly there to be seen. The maximum effect is in Karnataka, Maharashtra and Rayalaseema," he said. Meanwhile, as monsoon distribution and data remains disturbing in the central and south, North-west India can certainly look for an early respite from the mounting heat with the meteorological office predicting another spell of rainfall from Friday.
The IMD has forecast heavy to very heavy rainfall in Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, west and east Uttar Pradesh over the next four days. IMD officials also claimed of an improvement in the monsoon conditions in the central regions. Laxman Singh Rathore, director general (meteorology), IMD, said, "Rains in central India will improve within two to three days. In Gujarat also, it would pick up from July 20. In the Peninsula, rains are expected to revive from July 24-25 while Northwest India would have another spell from July 19-20."
(In Association with Mail Today)