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Maharashtra mulls cloud seeding to combat drought
13
Jul '15
After two failed attempts in 1992 and 2004 at cloud seeding, the Maharashtra government is giving artificial rain another shot to save crops from a long dry spell, according to media reports. About 80 per cent of the state’s cultivable area depends on rain and the current drought can jeopardize the lives of many farmers.

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, a senior government official said. Cotton which is grown over a large area in Vidarbha, is dependent on rain. The drought can potentially trigger another round of distress among cotton farmers.

The government has shortlisted a private agency for cloud seeding to generate artificial rainfall during August to October and has allocated Rs 27 crore for the project. A radar control station will be set up at Aurangabad. Cloud seeding involves spraying silver iodide from an aircraft into moisture laden clouds to cause rain.

The monsoon, which showed a good start in June, has faltered this month. The weather department says rainfall for July has fallen below average in most parts of Maharashtra.

Farmers had undertaken sowing operations in many parts of the state after bountiful rain in June. If the rain does not revive in the next few days, farmers’ investments on seeds and fertilisers would go waste. Many farmers who had sown seeds with borrowed funds would go deeper in debt. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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