With the state facing drought conditions following a rainfall deficiency of 40 per cent this monsoon, Maharashtra’s disaster management cell has proposed to set up a climate change study centre in Aurangabad in Marathwada, the region worst hit by the drought.
Earlier this month, over 14,000 villages across the state, among them 67 villages from Pune district, were declared drought affected by the state government.
To ease the situation, cloud seeding has already been carried out in these regions and date collated. However, need for a climate change study centre was felt in the region to carry out research and record climate changes throughout the year by analysing weather data over the years.
“With successive drought-like conditions in the state, the centre has been proposed to help study drought, excessive rainfall and hailstorms which the state has been facing in the recent past years,” said Suhas Diwase, director of the state’s disaster management cell. The divisional commissioner in the Marathwada region has already given permission for land required to set up the centre.
At the end of the southwest monsoon this year, the rainfall deficit in Marathwada was 40 per cent, almost the same like last year which was 42 per cent. The Konkan region recorded a rainfall deficit of 31 per cent this year while central Maharashtra recorded a deficit of 33 per cent. In Vidarbha, the figure was 11 per cent.
Diwase said a lot of data had already been collected for the cloud-seeding exercise carried out at a cost of Rs 200 crore. “We already have a lot of data collected during cloud seeding in the state. The data will be studied with the help of India Meteorological Department, Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology as well as the private agency that carried out the cloud seeding,” he said, while adding that the new centre will focus on predicting and understanding the state’s weather conditions so that the state is better prepared.
It may be recalled that the state had earlier signed a memorandum of understanding with the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) for a study on climate change but there was no progress on the report. The proposed centre in Aurangabad will also study long-term change in crop patterns and water usage.
State’s Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Eknath Khadse has already approved the proposal.