New Delhi, June 16: Parts of north India, including Delhi, received heavy showers on Saturday as the southwest monsoon advanced further into central and northern India, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
The monsoon this year had set over Kerala on schedule June 1 and advanced fast, covering the southern, eastern and central states within two weeks.
In northern India, pre-monsoon showers for the last three days have brought respite from the sweltering heat.
The southwest monsoon reached Himachal Pradesh Saturday, 10 days in advance, with most of the hill state experiencing moderate to heavy rainfall, the meteorological office in Shimla said.
Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and parts of Delhi have also been receiving showers.
"In Delhi, the monsoon was expected to reach early next week, way ahead of its scheduled June 29 date, but till Friday night around 5.5 mm rain was recorded from Safdarjung station while 6.2 mm was recorded from Palam," said an IMD official. He added that it will continue to rain for the next two to three days.
Heavy showers resulted in huge traffic jams in various parts of Delhi, causing inconvenience to the commuters.
"Due to rain and electricity failure, traffic chaos was reported from east Delhi's Shastri Park area. Traffic snarls were also reported from Delhi's Rohini and Mangolpuri area during the rain," said a traffic department official.
"Rains at this time are not unusual. In the past also we have seen the monsoon advancing by several days. It will be good for grain bowl states of Punjab and Haryana," IMD director BP Yadav told a news agency.
June and July are the sowing season for kharif (summer) crops like paddy and pulses.
A good monsoon this year can prove important for the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) ahead of the general elections next year, as it can hold inflation and give a fillip to the economy.
Agriculturist expert Devinder Sharma was, however, cautious.
"A good monsoon is a healthy sign for the country, but I am keeping my fingers crossed as we don't know if the it will be a normal monsoon from June to September," said Sharma.
He said monsoon has a direct impact on economy but it won't be able to bring down the inflation.
"A good monsoon has nothing to do with inflation and in last four years inflation has shot up because of poor policy of the central government," he added.