New Delhi, Nov 9 (PTI) The Delhi government has decided to bear the entire cost of artificial rain to combat hazardous air pollution in the city and directed the chief secretary to present the government's views before the Supreme Court on Friday, officials said.
If the Centre supports the decision, the Delhi government can arrange for the first phase of artificial rain in the city by November 20, they said on Thursday.
"In a significant development, the Delhi government has decided to bear the cost of artificial rain that could be made to happen by November 20 if the Centre extends its support to the Delhi government," said a senior government functionary.
"The chief secretary has been directed to inform the Supreme court that the Delhi government has in principle agreed, based on the advice of an IIT-Kanpur team, to bear the cost of Phase 1 and Phase 2 pilots (totalling Rs 13 Crore) for carrying out artificial rain," he said.
The Arvind Kejriwal government plans to induce artificial rain through cloud seeding technology to combat air pollution in Delhi, Environment Minister Gopal Rai said on Wednesday after meeting the IIT-Kanpur team.
The IIT-Kanpur team claimed that successful trials of artificial rain have been carried out in Kanpur, resulting in success in six out of seven attempts. They further confirmed the prima facie feasibility of trying out the technology in Delhi during winter to reduce air pollution levels, the officials said.
They said according to inputs from the IIT-Kanpur team, permissions from 10 central government ministries and agencies as well as the Uttar Pradesh government will be required to induce artificial rain.
The city government was also informed by the team that the estimated cost of the project will be around Rs 1 lakh per square kilometre.
The team recommended that a pilot cloud seeding initiative covering 300 square kilometres may be carried out immediately in the first phase, given the air pollution emergency prevailing in Delhi, the officials said.
They said artificial cloud seeding will depend on four factors -- clouds with moisture (minimum 40 per cent moisture content), aircraft and setup, seeding material and permissions.
The experts from IIT-Kanpur have also advised that, according to the current meteorological predictions, sufficient clouds over Delhi will be available around November 20-21 and they would be willing to carry out the first phase of the cloud seeding attempt during those days, the officials said.
Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar has been directed to coordinate with the IIT-Kanpur team and the central ministries and agencies for the project and submit the proposal for artificial rain before the Supreme Court through an affidavit.
Artificial rain through cloud seeding involves dispersing substances into the air to encourage condensation, resulting in precipitation. The most common substances used for cloud seeding include silver iodide, potassium iodide and dry ice (solid carbon dioxide).
These agents provide the nuclei around which water vapour can condense, ultimately leading to the formation of rain or snow.
This weather modification technique has been utilised in various parts of the world, primarily in regions experiencing water scarcity or drought conditions. PTI SLB VIT SZM