In what would bring much-needed cheer to millions of farmers in the western and eastern parts of the country, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Friday said the southwest monsoon is expected to cover most of Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, eastern Uttar Pradesh and the northeastern states by June 22.
The areas where the monsoon is expected to reach by the end of next week are key paddy, oilseeds and pulses growing regions. The eastern Indian states of West Bengal, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Assam produce more than half of the total annual paddy production.
“An upper air cyclonic circulation is likely to form around June 18 over northwest Bay of Bengal, which may subsequently develop into a low pressure area. This would move inland and lead to an increase in rainfall activity over east India,” the IMD said.
It said the meteorological conditions would then become favourable for further advance of the monsoon into West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh during the second half of the week.
A favourable weather should assist in speedy sowing of kharif crops, which has been delayed in many parts due to slow progress of southwest monsoon.
According to the Union Agriculture Ministry, till yesterday, the area under major kharif oilseeds was around 75,000 hectares, less than last year’s 171,000 hectares, while sowing of paddy and pulses had not started in many areas.
“We believe once monsoon starts progressing well, sowing will pick up pace,” a ministry official said.
This year, the southwest monsoon, which is crucial for the Indian agriculture has had an uneven run ever since it entered the Indian mainland on June 5, after a delay of almost five days.
The Met office said rains from June 1-13 have been almost 42 per cent below normal, while it was around 50 per cent below normal during the second week of this month. The poor rains have also pulled down the water level in 84 major reservoirs across the country.
“I’m hopeful of a strong recovery in Indian monsoon in the next few days," L S Rathore, director general of IMD told Business Standard.
The four-month southwest monsoon season that starts from June, accounts for almost 70 per cent of total annual moisture that India receives in a year.