The Rural Development and Panchayat Raj
Department of Karnataka has called tenders for cloud seeding operations to
enhance rainfall during the monsoons of 2019 and 2020. This decision for cloud
seeding comes in the backdrop of deficient rainfall in 2018-19 and consequent
drought in 176 taluks of Karnataka.
Cloud seeding is a type of weather modification
procedure. It is an artificial way to induce moisture in the clouds so as to
cause a rainfall. In this process, silver iodide, potassium chloride and sodium
chloride is sprayed on the clouds by using an aircraft. The chemicals condense
smaller particles into larger rain droplets.
Karnataka had previously used cloud seeding in
2003, 2009 and 2017. In 2017, the Karnataka government had successfully carried
out a cloud seeding exercise called Project Varshadhare. An independent evaluation
committee had estimated that the project led to rainfall enhancement of 27.9%.
Cloud seeding operations in India requires
multiple approvals from different government departments, viz. Ministry of
Defence (MoD), the Indian Air Force, Intelligence Bureau and Directorate General
of Civil Aviation (DGCA) – the regulatory body in field of Civil