The Rajasthan government would soon be writing to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), New Delhi, apprising it of the local meteorological office’s failure to alert the state administration about the May 2 dust storm that left 35 people dead and another 209 injured. According to sources, the chief secretary is writing to IMD over the malfunctioning of the doppler radar in the Jaipur Met office, a critical component in the accurate forecasting of weather events, and failure to warn the administration in time which led to loss of lives and physical infrastructure.
The doppler was not working the night of May 2 and had been dysfunctional for over 10 days prior to that, Devendra Pradhan, additional director general of the IMD had told news agencies.
Of the 27 IMD doppler radars in the country, two, in Jaipur and Karaikal, were not working. “We had been issuing alerts since April 29 using our doppler radar from Delhi. Had the Jaipur radar been working, we would have been in a much better position,” he had then said.
The state disaster management and relief department has also written to the IMD headquarters in Jaipur asking it to study the cause of the freak weather.
A senior department official has written to the IMD to examine the root cause of the weather change and why the dust storms occurred twice in a month. He has sought detailed inputs of factual cause of the weather change to minimize losses in future.
On the relief and rehabilitation works being carried out, the official said water and electricity have been restored in majority of affected villages in the four worst affected districts of Bharatpur, Alwar, Dholpur and Jhunjhunu. He said water supply scheme had been disrupted in 783 villages in the four districts. It has now been restored in 595 villages. Similarly, power supply had been affected in 4191 villages. Supply has been restored in 3536 villages.
Of 35 dead, compensation of Rs 4 lakh each has been given to the next of kin of 30 deceased. Commenting on the issue, IMD state director GS Nagrale said in a meeting with state disaster and relief minister Gulab Chand Kataria, we apprised him that the faulty part of the radar in Jaipur has been replaced.
He said the Central office in Delhi has planned to replace obsolete machinery and equipments. Meanwhile the state government for the first time has given financial support to the state disaster and response force of Rs 8 crore. An official said the government has provided equipments such as 48 inflatable and nine fiber boats. He added that training has also been provided to 100 SDRF personnel for rescue operations