Don't play with clouds: Farmers tell Government

The government is planning to launch rockets for cloud seeding to induce rain in the catchment area of Linganamakki reservoir that generates 25 percent of the power consumed by the State. Towers to launch the rockets are already constructed in Nittur, Baruve, Byakodu, Tumari and Linganamakki.

Farmers in catchment areas of Linganamakki reservoir are apprehensive that the experiment will have detrimental impact on the Western Ghats eco-system as well as on human health, as they fear that clouds will be sprinkled with chemicals like ammonium nitrate, silver iodide and urea to bring rain. Purushotham, President of SHODA-Sahyadri Horticulture Output Development Association, a body of farmers engaged in organic farming in Kodachadri region told media persons here on Tuesday that cloud seeding experiment which is conducted in intense drought conditions is unfortunately planned in Malnad known for intense rainfall to fill a reservoir.

Organic farming is practised in more than 1,350 hectares in Sagar and Hosanagar taluks. Farmers here enjoy certification from international bodies and earned Rs 20 crore last year through exports. As the rain caused by cloud seeding will be contaminated with toxic substances, the crops from the region will lose the ‘organic’ status, he stated. Complaining that people here were kept in darkness on installation of towers for launching the rockets, Purushotham said farmers will take legal action to stop cloud seeding.

However, Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa has ruled out the possibility of cloud seeding in the State this year. Assistant Commissioner of Sagar sub division Praveen Kumar has informed Deccan Herald that the work of constructing towers for cloud seeding are yet to be completed. He said the towers will be used in cloud seeding operations in case of scanty rainfall in future.

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