After two weeks delay, the southwest monsoon finally withdrew on Wednesday from the entire northeast, officials said.
A scientist of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that the southwest monsoon withdrew from the northeast region and and most part of India on Wednesday.
"The withdrawal of monsoon was delayed by two weeks this year. The delay is more or less a normal phenomenon," the IMD scientist, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told IANS.
"Though the southwest monsoon officially ended on September 30, it normally withdraws in the first or second week of October."
The four-month-long (June to September) monsoon was the most uneven in the mountainous northeastern region this year.
Four of the eight northeastern states, including Assam, received excess rain while the remaining four reported rainfall deficit.
Even as the IMD termed 19 per cent excess or shortage in rainfall as a "normal" monsoon, Himalayan state Sikkim and mountainous Meghalaya recorded 60 and 39 per cent excess rainfall, respectively, while Manipur and Mizoram witnessed 47 and 34 per cent deficient rainfall, respectively, during June to September.
According to IMD officials, the withdrawal of monsoon from west Rajasthan and parts of Punjab started on September 28 while its withdrawal in the northeast normally takes place second week of October.
IMD scientist Ranjan Phukan said as the monsoon trough was mostly active along the foothills of the Himalayas, Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya recorded good and heavy monsoon rains.
"Until the first half of the monsoon (up to July), it was good rainfall in four northeastern states. One after another low pressure in Bay of Bengal, the monsoon trough and related wind condition moved to eastern and central India region skipping the northeastern states causing less rainfall in various states," Phukan told IANS.
According to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) scientists, the erratic monsoon is likely to affect both the kharif and rabi crops in the region.
"During the tillering stage of the crop, the short rainfall would affect the production, productivity and otherwise. Distribution of rain is very erratic in the region. The deficient rainfall would affect the crops in Mizoram followed by Nagaland, Manipur and Tripura," ICAR's Principal Scientist Shankar Prashad Das told IANS.
He said the reproduction phase of the crops would also be affected due to the unreliable rainfall.
"Good rainfall in August is very crucial for various crops in northeast and this year, during August, rainfall was either less or uneven in the region," he added.
Meanwhile, disaster management officials said that monsoon floods and landslides have claimed 148 lives in Assam, 15 in Arunachal Pradesh, 10 in Meghalaya and one in Tripura.
Like the previous years, Assam this year too witnessed devastating floods that killed 122 people in 22 districts, while 26 others were killed in landslides since May 22. Lakhs of people and large amount of crops were also affected in 30 of the state's 33 districts.
Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) officials said that 2,65,402 hectares of crops in 30 districts were badly affected.
The floods also badly hit domestic and wild animals in various sanctuaries and national parks including the world-famous Kaziranga National Park, where 18 rhinos and 135 wild animals died due to the deluge.
Kaziranga National Park Director Karmashree P. Sivakumar said that 172 wild animals were rescued from the flood waters, even though over 95 per cent of the park remained inundated until July 23.
"Last year, 263 animals, including many endangered rhinos, were killed in floods while 169 animals were rescued...all-out efforts are being made to take care of the animals in the entire Kaziranga National Park," Sivakumar told IANS over phone.
The animals that perished this year in the park include 18 rhinos, 107 hog deer, 12 wild boars, six wild buffaloes, four porcupines and three swamp deer. The 172 rescued animals include three rhinos, 120 hog deer, 31 pythons and four cobras.
(Sujit Chakraborty can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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