On March 8, the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department pushed a tender call for cloud seeding operations to enhance rainfall during the monsoons of 2019 and 2020. The project is expected to cost ₹50 crore each year.
The department is aiming to replicate the ₹35-crore ‘Varshadhare’ project two years ago that was called a success by an independent evaluation committee. Its report, submitted to the State government in 2018, estimated that rainfall was enhanced by 27.9% and there was an extra inflow of 2.5 tmcft into Linganamakki reservoir. On account of procedural delays and inconsistent monsoon season, the two planes could only fly for 37 days.
V.S. Prakash, former head of the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Committee who was part of the 2017 monitoring panel. “Cloud seeding is being done in over 130 countries,and has had tremendous success in countries like China.”