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Hyderabad, July 5

THE State Government is preparing a comprehensive cloud seeding action plan for five years. It has sanctioned Rs 25.80 crore for the programme so far.

The tender committee, which looked into the response to the tenders from both international and national agencies, has recommended Agni Aviation Consultants, Bangalore, for the cloud seeding programme.

Consequently, a contract was signed with the company for Rs 23.60 crore on May 7.

The Director General Civil Aviation (DGCA) clearance for three low flying aircraft (two pressurized and one non-pressurized) for use in the programme has been obtained. Also two radar stations at Ananthapur and Ibrahmipatnam are being set up.

According to a report by the Secretary, Rain Shadow Areas Development Department (RSAD), data from the meteorological stations at Chennai, Machilipatnam and Visakhapatnam would be utilised.

The department would coordinate with the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University and the Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University for implementation and evaluation of the ongoing programme. Involvement of concerned farmers in the areas selected for cloud seeding, district level workshops to educate farmers are also on the anvil.

A special technical committee, which discussed the issues related to research, protocol and so on, finalised the protocols to be followed for cloud seeding during 2005. The concerned district collectors have been given detailed guidelines, the report added.

Among the tasks ahead, the RSAD said, preparation of Regional Plan involving three southern States of Karnataka, Maharastra and Andhra Pradesh to address the long-term objectives of the programme such as catchments area treatment for hydel generation, irrigation and ground water improvement.

There was a need to involve the Union Government and its establishments dealing with weather such as the India Meteorological Department, Department of Science and Technology and the Department of Space to make the programme more effective, the RSAD said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated July 6, 2005)
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