The heatwave engulfing vast tracts in central and north India is about to intensify with the weather bureau forecasting another 2-3 degree Celsius rise in the coming days. The scorching temperatures have already pushed power demand to an all-time high with the section of the industry basking in the spurt of sales of summer goods, ACs, coolers and beverages. At the same time, farmers are hopeful that the current spell of heatwave will lead to a better monsoon and crop yields.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted gradual rise of 2-3 Degree Celsius in maximum temperature over many parts of Central India during the next 5 days and the same level of increase over north-west region and Maharashtra after May 22.

Power Supply

The Power Ministry expects peak power demand in May to hit a staggering 235 gigawatts (GW), which is further likely to grow to 240 GW a month later. However, the Government maintained that there is “no major concern” about outages despite this sudden spurt power demand as supply is sufficient.

There were intermittent complaints about long power outages from many Delhi localities. These were attributed to local faults of the power distribution company. There was no shortage of supply even though the peak demand in the Capital clocked an all time high of 7,717 megawatt (MW) on Tuesday.

Farmers in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh reported uninterrupted supply, indicating that rural demand was being met through additional supplies.

Agriculture Outlook

“Whenever there is normal summer or intense heatwave conditions, the subsequent rainfall used to be good that year. The meteorological department has also predicted good rainfall this monsoon,” said Akhilesh Tyagi, a farmer in Shamli district of Uttar Pradesh.

While some farmers go for some short duration pulses or fodder crops after winter harvest, many in Punjab and Haryana, particularly those opting for paddy or Basmati, wait for sometime to begin activities for the Kharif season. Officials said there is no problem from current heatwave to the standing summer crops, sown after Rabi season and before Kharif season.

“As spring maize is sown normally in February, there is no risk to the crop as those are now at grain formation stage. For late sown spring maize, which may not have pollination yet, farmers need to put some water to avoid stress when temperature exceeds 45 Degree Celsius,” said Hanuman Sahay Jat, director of Ludhiana-based Indian Institute of Maize Research.

Summer Sale

The comfortable power supply situation with rising temperature has created massive jump in demand for air-conditioners and coolers and accordingly, many of the manufacturers have scaled up production.

Pradeep Bakshi, CEO & MD, Voltas Ltd said: “This year, the summer has been intense throughout the country with a severe heat wave hitting for the first time since the pandemic. While the industry witnessed peak demand in March-April in southern states, the demand has peaked in northern region this month and is here to stay till June.”

Daikin India, CMD, K J Jawa, said that even as the AC industry is expected to see a growth of 15-20 per cent this fiscal, there may be over 25 per cent growth in the June quarter alone due to factors such as heatwave, low category penetration, consumer loans among others.

AC servicing and repair firms are seeing brisk business. “The demand is up by over 40 per cent from last year. We have more than 15,000 professionals dedicated to handling only AC repairs and servicing on our platform,” said Vinit Kumar, Business Head, Repairs & AC at Urban Company.

Beverage companies are ramping up supply chains. “We are witnessing growing demand for our summer-centric products, particularly the glucose portfolio,,” said Dabur India Ltd Sales Head Anshul Gupta: