Maharashtra government will use the cloud seeding process to induce artifical rains in drought hit Marathwada by July 30, Minister for Water Supply and Sanitation Babanrao Lonikar said on Sunday.
“Marathwada region has received insufficient rainfall this year as well that has increased the woes of citizens. Using the cloud seeding process was discussed in the recently held state cabinet meeting following which we have decided to send a proposal to the Centre for its permission,” Lonikar told media persons.
The minister asserted that the state government will soon get a nod from the Centre. He said permissions will have to be taken for the aircraft to fly from Aurangabad airport for the purpose and that permissions will also be required for the radar technology to be used to penetrate the clouds.
Lonikar added that all permissions will be in place by July 30 and that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar have allocated Rs 30 crore for inducing artificial rains.
One month after the onset of southwest monsoon the drought-prone regions of Marathwada and Vidarbha still face a rainfall deficiency. India Meteorological Department (IMD) data states that from June 8 to July 8, Marathwada recorded 119.2 mm rainfall against the normal precipitation of 181.1 mm in the region.
The region comprises the most backward districts of Maharashtra such as Beed, Latur, Osmanabad, Parbhani, Jalna, Hingoli, Nanded and Aurangabad. The northeastern districts of Vidarbha recorded 190.2mm rainfall against the normal rainfall of 243.7 mm registering 22 percent deficiency.The experiment to induce artificial rains was first undertaken in the state in 2003, when NCP leader Jayant Patil was the Finance minister. The second such experiment was held in 2015.
(Edited by Prashant Hamine and written by Murtuza Merchant)