Monday, August 28, 2017

Turbulence hits cloud seeding

Bengaluru: On Saturday, a radar installed at GKVK campus in Bengaluru spotted ‘seedable’ clouds hovering around the drought-hit Kunigal and Gubbi areas of Tumakuru district. The aircraft, which had been circling the skies as part of cloud seeding, attempted to approach when their permission for flight was denied by the Air Traffic Controller (ATC) of the Kempegowda International Airport, which was coordinating passenger flights entering and exiting the busy airport.

With three airports dotting the city’s landscape, and no-go defence corridors criss-crossing the skies, those in charge of Project Varshadhari — the government’s ambitious cloud-seeding programme — are finding it difficult to chase the clouds. On Saturday, with the clouds at Tumakuru district off-limits, seeding was done in Bengaluru Urban district instead. On Friday too, the plan to chase “good, seedable” clouds at Hassan and Chikkamagaluru — both of which are important catchment areas for river Cauvery — was scuttled owing to lack of permission from defence authorities.

While the cloud seeding aircraft takes off from Jakkur Aerodrome, authorities need permission from the HAL Airport, Air Force base at Yelahanka as well as KIAL.

“Each ATC has its scheduled and unscheduled flights and they prioritise their operations. It becomes difficult for our plane to seed clouds. The only solution is for the State government and the three airport representatives to meet and chalk out a solution for the problem,” said G.S. Bhat from the Centre for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, and head of technical committee on the project.
27/08/17 Mohit M Rao/The Hindu