The Centre has shot down the Kerala government’s plans to go for cloud seeding to induce artificial rain. This year, the state has been facing the worst drought in last 115 years, with initial crop damages alone at Rs 225 crore. The Centre has refused to clear the project for cloud-seeding, the state government sources told FE. The Centre is not convinced that the existing technologies are feasible in producing artificial rain. The Centre told Kerala that other states like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka had also tried these technologies, without much success.
Cloud seeding is a technique where frozen carbon dioxide or silver iodide is dropped into the clouds either from an aircraft or through a water rocket, to condense them enough to create rainfall.
The Union ministry of earth science has advised Kerala that the state will have to bear the exorbitant cost of the programme and that the results in stimulating artificial rain might not be effective and tune with the expenses incurred.
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Last week, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan had told the state Assembly of the government’s plan to tackle drinking water shortage through measures like cloud seeding. His plans of setting up 11,000 water kiosks too haven’t taken off. Because of acute shortage of water, the LDF government has been able to roll out just 900-odd water kiosks in the past four months. Last year, the previous Congress-led government had set up 755 water kiosks.
Despite grandiose plans, the acute drought is yet to let the state government improve substantially on the numbers.
The coastal state had suffered shortage of 34% in southwest monsoon between June and September last year.