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Monsoon plays prank but scores good marks

New Delhi, June 30: Western Rajasthan, which is traditionally bone-dry, is wetter than usual while rainfall is scanty in customarily-drenched Andaman and Nicobar islands, but weather scientists say the monsoon of 2003 is behaving well.

As the first month of the four-month monsoon season drew to a close, scientists said 27 out of India’s 36 meteorological subdivisions or regions, have received normal or excess rainfall. Western Rajasthan has received 137 per cent higher rainfall than the average.

Rainfall in the Gujarat subdivision was 106 per cent higher than average.

“Western Rajasthan and Gujarat typically receive little rainfall, so any excess looks really good,” said Onkari Prasad, director of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) in New Delhi.

The monsoon has covered most parts except the northwestern region that includes parts of Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and western Uttar Pradesh. In April, the IMD had predicted that the monsoon would be 96 per cent of the average.

Gangetic West Bengal has received 17 per cent higher rain than the average. The Andaman and Nicobar subdivision is the only place so far with scanty rainfall — minus 73 per cent of the average. “It’s certainly raining there, but less than what it usually gets,” said Prasad.

In eight other subdivisions, rainfall has been deficient. Arunachal Pradesh has received 21 per cent below average, northern interior Karnataka has got 34 per cent below average. But these patterns could change in the three months still to go. Other deficient regions are Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, eastern Madhya Pradesh, Vidarbha, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry.

The IMD has announced that it would issue a mid-season forecast in the second week of July. The rainfall during the second month is particularly important for agriculture.

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