Better cyclone warning still distant dream

As a result, though IMD was supposed to have the Doppler radar network in place by December 2009, unopened packets containing the radar and associated electronics are lying around in the IMD headquarters in central Delhi, sources told Deccan Herald.

In January, the Centre gave IMD an extension up to March 31, 2011. But the department’s top brass is unsure whether all radar stations will come up in the next one year.

IMD purchased the radar from a Chinese company, Beijing Metstar, which was to send its engineers and technicians for installation.

The radar was to be housed in Archana building inside Navy Nagar in south Mumbai. But Navy refused to give security clearance because it would mean Chinese nationals getting access to a defence area.

The Mumbai Metstar radar was shipped back to Delhi where it is now being installed. “It is expected to become operational in April,” said Ajit Tyagi, director general of the IMD.
The replacement in Mumbai would be indigenous radar made by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL).

Ironically, IMD in the first place, opted for the Chinese radar rejecting the ISRO-BEL radar on quality grounds.

In none of the other places – Paradip, Nagpur, Patna, Lucknow, Patiala, Karaikal, Bhopal, Agartala, Mohanbari, Hyderabad and Goa – radar sites are ready. The civil work is lagging behind the schedule. 

“Buildings are in different stages of completion,” said Tyagi who has been given a two year extension to complete the Rs 900 crore project.

With ISRO in the process of installing 1000 Automatic Weather Stations (AWS), IMD found ISRO instruments were already set up in many of its preferred locations.

“The overlapping has happened in 60 odd places. Whenever it happened, we set our instruments in a new location 15-20 km away,” said R D Vashist who looks after instrumentation at IMD Pune.

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