Cloud seeding: Karnataka minister, Meteorological Department in dark
By Express News Service - BANGALORE
22nd October 2012 09:18 AM
Cloud seeding operations that started in the Cauvery basin two days ago have raised many questions, with Meteorological Department officials claiming they are in the dark.
Meteorologists have also questioned the government’s intent and timing of the Rs 5-crore project aimed at augmenting water flow in the Cauvery.
“Neither has the government consulted us nor are we aware of the development. There is no need for cloud seeding now. This is just a political gimmick,” said B Puttanna, director in-charge, Indian Meteorological Department. “It is a known fact that parts of Karnataka, including the Cauvery basin, and Tamil Nadu receive good rainfall during the north-east monsoon. But the government has still gone ahead with the plan,” he added. When contacted, Water Resources Minister Basavaraj Bommai said he was not aware of the operations.
Cloud seeding is a technique of stimulating or enhancing precipitation by distributing dry ice crystals or silver iodide particles over storm clouds in a specified region. After much deliberation, the government had decided to go for cloud seeding to manage the water crisis caused by this year’s drought.
Speaking to Express, Captain Arvind Sharma of Agni Aviation, which has been awarded the contract for the project, said cloud seeding has been going on in the Mysore-Mandya region for the past three days. “We are not creating artificial rain. We are just enhancing the precipitation. Around 22% of the rainfall in the Cauvery and Kabini basins in the last two days can be attributed to our efforts and it will continue till the monsoon ends,” Sharma said.
While it is too early to assess the effectiveness of cloud seeding, the rainfall statistics for the region in the past two days have been lower. Between Friday and Sunday, Mysore had received an average 3.3 mm of rainfall, marking a 47% deficit compared with average rainfall, Mandya received 6.6 mm of rainfall (30% deficit) and Kodagu received 8.5 mm of rainfall (38% deficit).
These three regions had received excess rainfall between October and December last year.
Former Water Resources minister H K Patil said cloud seeding should have been taken up in the Cauvery basin much earlier. Karnataka resorted to cloud seeding for the first time in 2002 when Patil was the Water Resources minister in the S M Krishna-led Cong government.
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