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Meteorological department teams up with BSNL to send extreme weather warnings

The move comes after the India Meteorological Department came under criticism from several quarters, including some state governments for not sending out specific alerts, a charge denied by the weather body.

india Updated: May 27, 2018 13:43 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, New Delhi
India Meteorological Department,BSNL,Extreme weather warning
After a day of heat and humidity, weather took a sudden turn when thunderstorm and rain hit Gurgaon, and dark clouds enveloped the city on May 13. (Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) is teaming up with state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) to send extreme weather warnings to people, a senior ministry of earth sciences official said.

The move comes after the IMD came under criticism from several quarters, including some state governments for not sending out specific alerts, a charge denied by the weather body.

“The IMD is trying to team up with BSNL to push the alerts to common people. The BSNL has come up with a technology. If the IMD sends an alert, they will pass it on to all BSNL numbers in Delhi (about an impending extreme weather event warning like thunderstorm, dust storm, heatwave),” M Rajeevan, secretary of ministry of earth sciences told PTI.

The area specific alerts will be sent to users if they are in that particular place where the extreme weather pattern is going to occur, even if their phone numbers do not belong to that particular telecom circle.

For instance, a BSNL user has travelled from Pune to Delhi, where an extreme weather event is forecast. The user will still get the message, Rajeevan said.

The exercise is being carried out on an experimental stage, and if successful the plan is to rope in other weather agencies as well, the official said.

Rajeevan, however, said the government agencies have limitations in disseminating information, especially in scenarios like thunderstorms wherein the entire weather pattern forms and wreaks its fury in two to three hours.

More than 200 people died due to thunderstorms across the country this month, with Uttar Pradesh alone witnessing half the deaths. In 2016, extreme weather had claimed lives of 1,600 people with heatwave topping the list.

“The IMD cannot reach to every individual. The IMD’s job is to prepare the forecast. There should be some intermediary agencies who can take our forecast and pass it on to people,” the official said.

The Prime Minister’s Office had recently asked the weather body to advise people on the action they need to take when it issues severe weather warnings.

First Published: May 27, 2018 13:43 IST