Mumbai: The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) will initiate a programme of cloud seeding in Solapur area from June 1, 2018.
The State government sought help from the Central government to solve problems of parched regions through artificial rain. Subhash Deshmukh, Minister for Co-operation, Marketing and Textile, wrote a letter to the Ministry and asked them to initiate the project.
Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Earth Science, approved the demand to set up a Cloud Aerosol Interaction and Precipitation Enhancement Experiment (CAIPEEX) phase 4 programme in Solapur to study the conditions necessary for carrying out cloud seeding in the convective cloud over the rain shadow region.
For this purpose, a facility has been set up at Sinhgad College of Engineering, Solapur, which consists of C band Radar, 100 rain gauges and 2 wind profiles. In addition, IITM plans to hire seeder and a research aircraft to study clouds and observe the changes leading to rainfall. IITM had confirmed it would carry out the experiment from June 1, 2018.
The programme will be carried out by MoES using two research aircraft. While one plane will be undertaking the exercise of cloud seeding, another aircraft would take samples to study its viability.
These include one to ensure weather forecast at a block level across the country by 2019 so that farmers get the right information on the ground in advance. Such forecast will be done through 660 district centres using Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) network.
Subhash Deshmukh said, “Solapur, which falls in rain shadow area of Maharashtra, has been chosen to conduct the research. We intend to take 200 samples that can help us understand how effective is the concept of cloud seeding. The programme will be carried out over a period of three years.”
According to the MoES, there is a demand for cloud seeding from Indian-Drought Prone region. The interior part of peninsular India is rain shadow region. The seasonal monsoon rainfall is lower compared to all India mean monsoon rainfall. The rainfall variability is larger. The region is drought prone in the prolonged monsoon-dry conditions. The cloud seeding programmes with modern technology have been carried out by state governments of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra in the years 2003-2005.