August is likely to have normal rainfall between 94-106 per cent of the long period average (LPA) of 254.9 mm, India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Monday, releasing its monthly monsoon forecast for this month.
However, below-normal rain in Bihar and Jharkhand may not help paddy sowing to cover the deficit in the last two months. But, the normal rain forecast for east Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal has raised hope that already transplanted paddy crops will be saved and also it may help speed up sowing operation as well.
Odisha and Chhattisgarh may also get below-normal rainfall this month, which is not seen as good for the paddy since these two States have also seen deficit in acreage, although not much.
Bihar badly hit
Releasing the monthly forecast, IMD Director-General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said: “Below normal rainfall is likely over the west coast and many areas of east-central as well as in the east and north-east region during August.” He said normal to above normal rainfall is very likely over most parts of the south-east and north-west regions of India, apart from the western parts of central region.
Acreage of paddy, maize, groundnut and arhar has been trailing their year-ago levels mainly due to lower rainfall or shifting to other alternative crops.
Bihar had targetted 41.28 lakh hectares (lh) sowing areas to be covered under all crops this kharif season whereas only 47 per cent of the targetted area has been planted until July 28. Out of 35.12 lh targetted for paddy, only 15.69 lh has been covered, so far. Five districts – Aurangabad, Banka, Gaya, Jamui and Nawada, together having 17 per cent share in the state’s paddy area, have reported completion in only 6 per cent of their combined targetted area of 5.85 lh, so far.
“Rainfall over the country as a whole during the August-September period of the southwest monsoon season is most likely to be normal (94-106 per cent of LPA),” Mohapatra said.
As the country also faced flash floods in many parts this year leading to inundation of crops in some States, the IMD DG pointed out that number of weather stations reporting extremely heavy rainfall (more than 204.5 mm) has increased to 80 in June this year compared with 35-36 stations in the same month in previous two years. In July, such incidents reported by 131 weather stations this year whereas 121 incidents in same month 2021.