The state cabinet had approved allocation of Rs 30 crore for the project as a drought relief measure in July.

Karnataka banks on cloud seeding to tackle drought special plane arrives from USRepresentational image
news Monsoon Tuesday, August 15, 2017 - 13:58

With the state staring at what could be the third consecutive year of drought, the Karnataka government is going ahead with a cloud seeding project at an estimated cost of Rs 35 crore.  

A special plane from Dakota, United States arrived at the Jakkur airfield in Bengaluru on Friday, for initiating chemical-induced rains in basins of three rivers in the state— Cauvery, Malaprabha and Tungabhadra in Bengaluru, Gadag and Yadgir.

Bangalore Mirror reports that Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) department is working on setting up a weather radar at the Gandhi Krishi Vigyan Kendra (GKVK) which is essential for the process.

“The government is all set for the project and, hopefully, it will be launched on August 18, assuming that the weather radars will be commissioned by then. The radars have to track the density and movement of clouds and, based on the radar information, the technicians aboard the aircraft will take up cloud seeding,” HK Patil, minister for RDPR said.

The state cabinet had approved allocation of Rs 30 crore for the project as a drought relief measure in July.

The Deccan Herald report said that rainfall deficit in the current monsoon season stands at 26%, according to Meteorology department data.

As of Sunday, water levels of all dams in the state barring Almatti, were half-filled or less and were in worse condition than in 2016, on the same day, reportedThe New Indian Express.

What is cloud seeding?

A weather modification experiment, cloud seeding is a way of inducing rainfall from rain-bearing clouds using chemicals. However, experts have consistently argued that cloud seeding is not a sure-shot way to bring about rains, and is not a proven technology. 

Dr HS Shivaramu, Professor and Head, Agro-meteorology Department, University of Agricultural Sciences, had said that cloud seeding has a success rate of only 20%. 

While cloud seeding was first implemented in 1940s, several Indian states including Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have experimented with it since the 1980s, and the results have been largely unsatisfactory. 

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