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'Magnetic' rains for bundelkhand

 

UP government hits upon a unique green solution for its parched farmlands
DHARMENDRA SAHU | Issue Dated: June 1, 2008
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'Magnetic' rains for bundelkhand The bloodbaths over water, persistent farmer suicides and regular animal deaths in Bundelkhand are poised to end soon, if the state government starts the artificial rain project early in this sun-scorched, water-parched region of Uttar Pradesh. Scientists from a Russian Scientific Interest, Green-leaf, have already done initial surveys and feasibility

studies and have found them to be encouraging. The company claims that the area is fit to bring in rain by “magnet-technology”, which has earlier successfully soaked the once dry mid-east emirates--Abu Dhabi and Dubai. All eyes are now set on the state government, which is facing political threats with water being made into a political issue.

Bundelkhand is reeling under water crisis over the last five years and local NGOs hold that some 300 farmers have committed suicide due to this. A local hero and noted thespian Raja Bundela, who also heads Bundelkhand Mukti Morcha, had even staged a sit-in protest at Delhi’s central protest venue, Jantar Mantar. Political sources aver that this action is what finally got the government’s goat and goaded it to act.

Men and animals alike are dying in scores every month because of hunger and unavailability of water. The once lush green fields have given way to farmlands cracking under the intense sun, with little groundwater to ameliorate the situation.

Uttar Pradesh districts such as Jhansi, Lalitpur, Hamirpur, Banda, Mahoba and Jalaun are the worst affected. In some places people pay as much as Rs 10 for a bucket of potable water. Government hand pumps and taps are scenes of daily brawls, which often turn bloody.

Groundwater level is dipping every passing year. Professor S P Singh, Head of the Department of Geology, Bundelkhand University, told The Sunday Indian: “The primary reason behind this is deforestation. People know this, but give two hoots about it.”

Political moves are being formulated on the backdrop of this continuing drought. High profile leaders have visited the region but have little to offer than mere promises and slogans.

The previous commissioner of Jhansi, P V Jagmohan, had initially formulated the project report. But he was soon transferred. The current incumbent, Ramendra Tripathi has continued the initiative and invited Green-leaf to start the feasibility study.

The state government has to take the decision now to initiate the experiment. The local administration has already sent the proposal to the concerned ministry. Once the government gives the green signal, the ionization apparatus will be imported from Israel.

The process consists of sending up magnetic waves to clouds with controlled temperature, pressure, wind current and humidity. However, the most difficult part is controlling the wind, as it tends to sweep away the clouds.

Under favourable conditions, the apparatus can bring in heavy rain for three to five hours at places above the sea level. It is expected that the process will start somewhere around August this year when rain laden clouds pass over the region, and the news has been welcomed by farmers in the region. “It is nothing less than a miracle. It will bring much needed respite,” says Hargovind, ex-village head of Bhojala in Jhansi.
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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017