Waiting for rain: Pujas, cloud seeding, green lungs

Whenever the state faces severe water crisis, the government directs temples to invoke divine intervention for rainfall.

Acute water scarcity and consecutive monsoon failures have driven the Tamil Nadu government to direct temples in the state to conduct exclusive pujas, yagams and abhishekams to bring rain.

The circular from the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department (HR&CE) commissioner stated temple instrumentalists should play songs in special ragas, like Amirtravarshini, Megavarshini, Kedari, Ananda Bhairavi and Rupa Kalyani, to usher in rain.

Besides, priests are planninng to stand in temple tank water and chant slokas to propitiate Rain God. Whenever the state faces severe water crisis, the government directs temples to invoke divine intervention for rainfall.

Also, the option of cloud seeding to induce rainfall has been raised and discussed. Recently, the Madras high court, hearing a plea, observed that for the last three years rain had failed in Tamil Nadu, 24 districts are drought affected and there are no perennial rivers in the state. It directed the Central and state governments to find out if there is a possibility of bringing rain by artificial methods. The division bench quoted global studies and instances of countries like China and Sri Lanka producing rain through cloud seeding and other methods. Cloud seeding is an artificial way of inducing moisture in the clouds to cause rainfall. The TN government had tried cloud seeding in mid-1970s and 1980s and also in early 2000.

However, deforestation is considered one of the reasons for poor rainfall. A study by IIT-B last year had found that deforestation in the Western Ghats led to the decrease in rainfall during the southwest monsoon season. It said Western Ghats that runs through TN, Kerala, Goa, Karnataka, Gujarat and Maharashtra had lost huge tracts of forest cover to deforestation.

The TN forest department has been taking steps to increase the green cover by distributing saplings and encouraging educational and commercial institutions and industries to maintain and create green lungs.

Such afforestation drives help in tackling changing monsoon patterns, rising mercury levels and frequent extreme weather events.

Amid growing water crisis, planting right species of plants at the right places and taking care of them will be a step in the right direction. Besides serving as carbon sinks, these trees will help reduce heat and pollution and ensure environmental heath.

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