India monsoon 23 percent above normal in past week

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 23, 2011 9:33 AM

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Heavy downpour over rice-growing areas of eastern India improved weekly rainfall in the week to June 22, the weather office said on Thursday, erasing the previous week's deficit.

The monsoon rains were 23 percent above normal in the past week, with rice-growing eastern states of West Bengal and Orissa receiving heavy rainfall, which would support planting of the main summer food crop.

The two eastern states share one-fifth of rice output of India, the world's second top producer of the grain.

In the previous week, the monsoon rainfall was 9 percent below average in cotton-growing areas of southern India and rice-growing areas of the eastern region.

Last year, the rainfall was 21 percent below normal in the week to June 23, but the four-month rainy season ended as a normal rainfall year after 2009 -- which was the driest season in over three decades and made the country a net importer of sugar.

(Reporting by Ratnajyoti Dutta; editing by Malini Menon)