July 12, 2015 3:35:44 am
The state government is working on a plan to deploy cloud seeding in case rains are below normal in the drought-hit regions of Marathwada and Vidarbha in July.
The cloud seeding project came up for discussion during the review meeting on the agrarian crisis. There are 175 talukas out of 355 in Maharashtra that are drought-hit.
A senior officer told The Indian Express, “At present, sowing of seeds is completed across 60 per cent and maximum wait for rains cannot exceed beyond July. Apart from available water sources there could be some regions where cloud seeding would become inevitable to override the crisis.”
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The chief minister has indicated that financial constrains will not hamper from taking any experiment that would give good results in the interest of farmers.
In the cloud seeding technique, silver iodide is sprayed on humid clouds through an aircraft, which then brings about condensation temperature in the clouds, followed by rains.
Maharashtra had taken up the project twice in 1992 and 2004. But it did not bring the desired results. The Congress-NCP government project “Varshs Prakalp” with Rs 5 crore budget based in Baramati and Akola was undertaken with the help of a US company.
A former Congress minister said, “A lot of mistakes were made on selection of sites as a result the seedable clouds which are required for the experiment to succeed were not available.”
This time around, the government is looking at more advanced and accurate technology that would adapt to cloud conditions in Maharashtra. A delegation from the United States is meeting state officials on the technology.
After the initial spell of good rains, farmers began sowing. But almost one-third of the area sown is unlikely to produce good yield due to water scarcity.
“The agriculture department has issued orders to provide all the help to farmers where ever resowing of seeds have become necessary. The sowing of seeds for cotton, soyabean and cereals undertaken across state has been badly affected following long gap of 20 to 25 days of missing rains.” Fadnavis directed the officials to extend the supply of drinking water through tankers till July-end across the drought-hit regions.
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