Finally, monsoon hits Kerala
Monsoons finally arrived in the state of Kerala today, four days behind schedule, bringing relief to farmers.
The southwest monsoon, crucial for agriculture, hit Kerala today, with a senior official saying that the four-day delay was not a cause for worry.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said monsoon rains had enveloped the entire southern state, bringing all-round cheer.
The monsoon accounts for 80 percent of the rainfall in India. Even a minor delay can adversely affect the economy as about half of India's farm output comes from crops sown during the June-September rainy season.
IMD director general LS Rathore said that the monsoon was expected to advance rapdily into other parts of the country.
Kerala gets the annual monsoon rains on June 1, marking the start of weeks of showers in the Indian mainland.
Last year, however, the monsoon arrived in Kerala on May 29.
Rathore, however, said there was nothing to panic about the delayed rains as the four day delay was well within the forecast limits.
The IMD has said that the 2012 southwest monsoon season (June-September) for the country as a whole was most likely to be normal.
"The deviation in arrival of monsoon rains would have no adverse impact on sowing of kharif (summer) crops like paddy and pulses," he said.
The monsoon normally reaches Delhi by June-end. but according to IMD it is too early to say when the capital will get rains.
"We can only make date specific forecast towards the end of this month by seeing the spread of monsoon in the rest of the country," IMD director BP Yadav said.
Agriculture expert Devinder Sharma was, however, cautious.
"The delay in monsoon by a day or two is fine. But the most important thing is the spread of monsoon during June and July, the sowing season for kharif crops," Sharma said.
He said that in last few years, there have been cases when monsoon arrived before time but states like Rajasthan, Gujarat and Bihar did not receive sufficient rains, leading to crop failure.
"I am more worried about the spread of monsoon as more than half of our crop production is dependent on the southwest monsoon," he added.