Calamity warning system to be shored up on coastline

Calamity warning system to be shored up on coastline

Sensors will relay info to alert centres; B’luru to have head office

 A warning system to give alerts about natural calamities - especially tsunamis and floods - will soon be set up in the State’s coastal areas.

This follows a directive from the Centre to the states in the wake of the recent earthquake in Nepal.

Ritesh Kumar Singh, secretary to the Revenue department (disaster management cell), told Deccan Herald that the Rs nine-crore project would be implemented with aid from the World Bank.

The decision to have early warning systems was taken at a meeting of the disaster management heads in New Delhi last week. The proposal had also been mentioned in this year’s budget presented by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

Singh said that a software for this - on the lines of the one already working in Hyderabad - was being prepared. The coastal sensors would have alert centres at the offices of the deputy commissioners in the headquarters of the respective districts. These would be connected to the head office in Bengaluru.

Experts feel that the idea is good, but they stress on the need to execute it well. V N Nayak, a marine biologist from Karwar, said that normally these sensors were not successful. This is because the buoys - which have the sensors on top and small anchors underwater and are linked to satellites - get washed away to distant places. They are neither maintained well nor replaced when they are washed away.

There is also no provision to trace the lost buoys. Many times, the information is not relayed because of problems in network transmission. There is no continuous monitoring and there is a shortage of trained expertise.

There is a single antenna to give warnings at the Marine Biology department of the post-graduate centre in Karwar of the Karnatak University, Dharwad. The antenna also gives information on wave height, speed, wind speed and warning to fishermen on disasters.

Another meeting was held two months ago in Bengaluru to discuss how the whole coastline of the country from Gujarat to West Bengal can be connected as part of a Rs 2,000-crore security project. However, it is felt that this is not needed on the State’s coastline as it is safe, compared to Gujarat and West Bengal. The coastal zone regulations are strict here and restrict development up to 500 metres from the sea, Nayak said.

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