Bengaluru: Drought-hit Kerala will explore cloud seeding, if necessary, to bring back rains, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in the state assembly on Tuesday.
Kerala is reeling under its worst drought in a century, turning farmlands and drinking water pipelines dry. Already, an estimated 30,353 hectares of agricultural land has been damaged, resulting in a loss of Rs225 crore.
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. States like Karnataka and Maharashtra have experimented with similar plans earlier, but its benefits, given the relatively high cost, are inconclusive.
The chief minister said the government will do everything possible to ensure water in the parched regions, irrespective of the money needed to fund the programmes, while replying to the opposition, which alleged lapses in state action in tackling drought.
Vijayan also criticised the Union government for not giving an appointment to an all-party delegation which wanted to discuss the drought situation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This is not the first time the state has been treated unfairly when it wanted to discuss crucial issues that affect its citizens, said Vijayan in the house, reported local channels.
Kerala witnessed shortage of 34% in southwest monsoon between June and September last year, which contributes close to 70% of its annual rainfall. The northeast monsoon between October and December too was delayed, forcing the state to declare drought in October.
With the approach of summer, extreme weather conditions seem to be unravelling. Most parts of Kerala are witnessing dry conditions and water shortages, along with a collapse in farmlands across the state, according to local newspaper reports.