MUMBAI: Around four lakh hectares of farm land is likely to remain uncultivated in Maharashtra due to deficient rain. And this may affect the state’s crop output and subsequently further increase the woes of the already distressed farmers, as well as lead to price hike. The Agriculture Department had estimated that around 10 lakh hectares of farm land would remain uncultivated because of the patchy monsoon showers.
Nonetheless, the state government’s experiment of cloud seeding is likely to play saviour in some parts of the land bringing some relief to the farmers.
Agriculture Minister Eknath Khadse said the cloud seeding experiment has delivered good results so far. “Normally, five mm rainfall is enough for a crop to survive. We have recorded more than 50 mm rainfall after the cloud seeding. This will be enough to grow the crops,” he said.
However, the cloud seeding could save the crops only on four lakh hectares. The remaining six lakh hectares will go waste for sure. The government hopes that at least two lakh hectares out of the six lakh hectares could be brought under cultivation in the Rabbi season.
So the farm land that would remain uncultivated will be four lakh hectares. The state has appointed US-based Weather Modification Private Limited, which has entered into an agreement with an Indian firm, Khyati Climate, for the cloud seeding at a cost of Rs 27 crore.
The company will run the experiment for 200 hours in three months. The government will pay for 100 hours and the company will provide its service free of cost for the remaining period.
Railways May Help supply water
The Agriculture Department is mulling a proposal to supply water to the parched area through Railways. “I have asked our officials to check with the Ministry of Railways when they can make the wagons available,” Khadse said.