Karnataka to take up cloud seeding amid monsoon woes

Updated: May 16, 2019, 12:09 IST | Agencies |

Jobs were also being provided under MNREGA to stop migration of people from affected areas, they said

Around 2,999 villages in the state are face water shortage. Pic/PTI
Around 2,999 villages in the state are face water shortage. Pic/PTI

Bengaluru: The Karnataka government on Wednesday said it would take up cloud seeding by the end of June, amid reports forecasting deficit rainfall. The government has already called for tenders for two years and will spend an estimated Rs 88 crore forthe purpose. "In newspapers we are seeing that in 2019 there is a possibility of deficit rainfall. We have already takenprecautionary measures regarding this- for 2019-20 and 2020-21-for two years we have decided to implement cloud seeding,"Rural Development Minister Krishna Byre Gowda said. He said the government would award the tender in a week to 10 days.

"By June end, we will begin the cloud seeding process in the state. The tender has been called for two years together. Anexpert committee had also given similar recommendation," he said. For two years together, the estimated cost would be Rs 88 crore, he said, briefing mediapersons after Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy's video conferencing with Deputy Commissioners of districts andCEO of Zilla Panchayats on drought in the state. Pointing out that cloud seeding earlier used to be done by August, by which time the monsoon would have almost ended, Gowda said that to avoid it, the government decided this time to go forthe exercise at the onset of the monsoon. There will be two centres at Bengaluru and Hubbali for cloud seeding, with two aircraft, he said.

"If there is good rain in one region, the centre there can be shifted as additional centre to where there is lack of rain. It will also be based on cloud cover," he said. Revenue Minister R V Deshpande said the government was taking steps to manage drought on a "war footing" and that he hasdirected all Deputy Commissioners and CEOs to tour the districts to assess the situation. Tahsildars have also been asked to travel to villages, panchayat headquarters nd urban areas to understand the ground reality and work effectively, he said. He also termed as 'far from the truth,' Opposition leader B S Yeddyurappa'scriticism of the government's management of drought and pointed out that due to the model code of conduct in force, the Chief Minister and Ministers had no powers to holdreview meetings until recently, when they were permitted by the Election Commission to do so.

The ministers said the government has taken steps to provide drinkingwater through tankers, wherever there was shortage. In most places there was fodder stock for 12 weeks and corrective measures were being taken in areas facing shortage. Gowda said a total of 2,999 villages in the state faced acute drinking water shortage. Among them in 1632 villages, 2322 tankers are being used to supply water and 1873 borewells have been taken on rent to provide water to 1367 villages. Of the total of 6,428 urban wards, 451 wards are being provided water through tankers, he added. "DCs have Rs 713 crore, it should be used for borewell and tanker payments. Wherever new borewells are needed taskforces have been given Rs 200 crore by RDPR department," they said, adding that call centres have been started at everytaluk, district and also state level to address drinking water shortage. Jobs were also being provided under MNREGA to stop migration of people from affected areas, they said.

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