The Delhi government is mulling over a ₹13 crore initiative to induce artificial rain, marking an innovative approach to address the persistent issue of air pollution. The potential project will be led by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, subject to approval.
What Happened: A letter from Delhi’s Environment Minister, Gopal Rai, to Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar on Thursday proposed a partnership with IIT Kanpur to stimulate artificial rainfall in Delhi, as per a report in the Hindustan Times.
The preliminary phase of the experiment may start around the 20th or 21st of November, covering an estimated 300 sq km, given that weather conditions are favourable. The project will be expanded to cover 1,000 sq km in the second phase if the initial phase is successful.
The projected cost is around ₹1 lakh per sqm, translating to ₹3 crore for the first stage, and ₹10 crore for the second. Thus, the total cost for artificial rain in Delhi would come at around ₹13 crore.
IIT Kanpur and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) pitched the pilot project to the Delhi government and Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena on Wednesday. However, the government has yet to receive an official proposal.
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The project, under the leadership of Manindra Agrawal from IIT Kanpur, has already carried out successful cloud seeding experiments using specially modified aircraft. If approved, this will be Delhi’s first attempt at using this method to combat its air pollution crisis.
The proposal for artificial rain comes at a time when Delhi and its surrounding regions are grappling with hazardous air quality levels.
The concept of artificial rain or ‘cloud seeding’ was previously implemented in India, primarily to bring rainfall to drought-prone areas during monsoon and pre-monsoon months and not as a pollution mitigation measure.
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