Digital screens to give hourly weather info to Char Dham pilgrims

The state government has decided to set up digital screens at select places along the Char Dham Yatra route

dehradun Updated: May 20, 2017 13:57 IST
Neha Pant
Neha Pant
Hindustan Times
Char Dham,Dehradun Meteorological Center,Digital screens
A view of the Kedarnath shrine in Rudraprayag district.(HT File)

Soon, pilgrims en route to Char Dham will be able to view hourly updates on weather information to plan their journey ahead.

The state government has decided to set up digital screens at select places along the Char Dham Yatra route, where weather forecasts issued by the Dehradun Meteorological Center will be displayed.

In the first phase, the digital screens will be set up at a few places en route the holy shrines of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. These digital screens, besides giving weather information to the pilgrims, will also alert them about the possibility of any extreme weather change and the precautions they should take in such a situation.

The decision was taken in a meeting between Uttarakhand chief secretary S Ramaswamy and a team of senior India Meteorological Department (IMD) officials, organised in Dehradun on Monday.

“We will be writing to the district magistrates (DMs) concerned as well as the tourism department to identify places where the screens could be placed, preferably at locations which are major tourist halts. The state government wants to move swiftly on (doing) this,” disaster management secretary Amit Negi told Hindustan Times on Tuesday.

“Initially, around 10-15 screens will be put in place and the move will later be extended to other locations along the annual pilgrimage circuit eventually,” he added.

Bikram Singh, director of the Dehradun Meteorological Centre, said, “With the installation of such screens, information regarding any sudden changes in weather will reach the pilgrims directly.”

“At present, we (at the centre) are issuing special seven-day as well as hourly forecasts for the Char Dham Yatra on our website, besides generating weather forecasts for the Char Dham route, which has been divided into sectors,” he added.

Two such screens had been placed – one each at Gaurikund and Kedarnath – during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the Kedarnath shrine on May 3.

In 2013, a massive rain-induced disaster had left around 5,000 dead and thousands displaced in Uttarakhand. Lack of an effective communication dissemination system - to relay weather related information to pilgrims in real-time - was said to be one of the reasons for the widespread damage suffered in the disaster.

Mussoorie to have Doppler radar

Dehradun: Mussoorie has been finalised as the location for installation of a Doppler radar – a highly specialized weather forecasting system – in Uttarakhand during the meeting between the state government and the IMD officials. Led by IMD’s deputy director general D Pradhan, the team also gave its initial nod to a location in Nainital for the installation of another Doppler radar. “Another site will soon be identified in Chamoli district for the installation of the third radar,” disaster management secretary Amit Negi told HT. It was decided that the first radar will be set up in Uttarakhand within a year through mutual cooperation between the state and the IMD, and weather forecasting network will also be further strengthened. Notably, installation of radars has been pending in the hill state even four years after the 2013 disaster.

First Published: May 16, 2017 19:20 IST