Ramesh added that the IMD has constantly been in talks with mobile telephony providers to develop services to not only give timely updates but also reach more farmers in Haryana and Punjab. "The Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative (IFFCO) Limited collaborated with Bharti Airtel in 2007 to constitute the IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited, and provides information regarding farming. Now 16 lakh farmers are using the service. Haryana was slow to start with, but has gained the maximum momentum," said Ramesh, as Surinder Paul, director of the meteorological centre at Chandigarh nodded along.
On the right road
The IMD also plans to place small weather stations at all highway toll-collection centres that would predict fog, mist or haze conditions along with rainfall and weather forecast. "Talks are in the final stage with the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). The station is small and portable, and will cost between Rs. 60,000 and Rs. 80,000," said Ashwagosha Ganju, director, Snow And Avalanche Study Establishment.
"There are also more sub-stations to come up in Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh to cover the remotest corners of the region," added Ganju.