In Mumbai, space constraint is not only the common man’s bane; the state too has a hard time grappling with it. Two years after the 26/7 deluge crippled Mumbai, the plan to install the Doppler radar — a state-of-the-art weather warning system that can predict torrential rains and cyclones — has yet to take off only due to lack of space.
Worse still, Mumbai’s wait for the sophisticated system may be longer than expected. The plan, thus far, remains on paper with the Airport Authority of India (AAI) denying the permission to install Doppler on its plot of land at Juhu, a western suburb.
“The AAI denied the permission due to a technical problem that it would face if Doppler were installed in their premises,” said Dr C.V.V. Bhadram, Deputy Director General of the Metrological department. While Doppler needs unobstructed view for accurate prediction, the highrise structures dotting the city can impede choice of a site for installation of the system, he explained.
With AAI refusing permission, two new sites have been short listed for installing the Doppler. While one is at Andheri West, the other is at Navy Nagar in Colaba. “The cyclone-detection radar is placed in naval jurisdiction and the feasibility of installing the Doppler in the same vicinity is being worked out,” said an optimistic Bhadram.
Besides selection of site, there are other stumbling blocks in installing the Doppler radar. After selection of the venue, the Central government will need to kickstart the process for procuring the radar as an order needs to be placed for importing the system. “After finalising the site, the centre will float the tender to place the order for the radar,” Bhadram informed.
Last year, during monsoon, Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh had said that installation of the Doppler radar depended on the Centre.
The service of Doppler radar is already in use in cities like Vishakapatnam, Chennai and Kolkata as this technology-driven system is installed at these places.