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So, how will the Mausam be?

A 24x7 weather channel is in the works which plans to rope in a private partner for the proposed joint venture.

india Updated: Mar 19, 2006 17:55 IST
Vinod Sharma
Vinod Sharma

A 24x7 weather channel is in the works in the Ministry of Science and Technology, which plans to rope in a private partner for the proposed joint venture.

If all goes well, the channel, the first of its kind in India, will be on air by 2007.

"We have decided to call it Mausam," disclosed Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal.

He said the channel was part of the Government’s bigger plan to merge the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) with the Department of Oceanography to set up an omnibus Department of Earth Sciences.

Pending approval of the Union Cabinet, the merger proposal is at the core of up-grading earth sciences for serving the agriculture, tourism and aviation sectors.

Accurate forecasting is of key importance even to the power sector where electricity supply through the grid has to be in accordance with region specific, weather-driven needs.

For starters, Mausam would be under Sibal’s Ministry but run on a day to day basis by the private partner.

The arrangement would include an "exit clause" to enable the Government to shed its equity once the project becomes financially viable.

The Ministry is understood to have sent out invitations to various private TV channels to discuss the venture.

By 2010, the year of the Commonwealth Games, the proposed channel would be supported by weather forecast models the IMD hopes to evolve.

Simultaneously, the Met Department will go on a shopping spree to make its domestic network 'dense' and tech-rich.

On its purchase list are wind-profilers, rain gauges, and four Doppler Radars (each costing Rs 15 crore) that are crucial for rain forecasting.

"The whole effort is geared to provide reliable, area specific forecast for the entire country," Sibal told HT.

During the Commonwealth games, Mausam would carry venue-specific forecasts complete with levels of humidity, wind speed and possibility of rains.

The Games scheduled for September 4-13 might be hit by an extended monsoon.

First Published: Mar 19, 2006 17:55 IST