Friday, February 26, 2010

Weatherman to get his own TV channel

The weatherman may finally get it right. With the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) getting an allocation of Rs 156 crore for 2010-11, its special projects have received a boost.

The amount is meant specifically for three projects — seismic hazard and risk evaluation, Commonwealth Games and a dedicated weather channel. Officials say that Rs 50 crore meant for the Games project has already been allocated and the amount sanctioned in the new budget would have to be sub-allocated to the other two projects.

The Games project, that is being implemented along with Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), is already underway. A set of highly sophisticated equipment is being installed at all Games venues and at the Games Village to provide weather forecast for a period between an hour and five days. ‘‘The Metropolitan Weather Information and Forecast System for the NCR and Commonwealth Games 2010 is going to be a permanent project. At least 70 automatic weather stations will provide accurate information to organisers, athletes and spectators,’’ said Ajit Tyagi, DG, IMD.

While the Central weather forecasting office will be based at Lodhi Road, Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium and Games Village will also have one centre each.

On the other hand, the IITM is in the process of setting up 10 monitoring stations to predict air quality status in a 50-km radius around the Games Village. The stations will generate data for a 4km-by-4km area a day in advance. These stations will record level of pollutants in the air and also generate data based on weather conditions to indicate how weather patterns and emission sources will affect the air quality at a particular point during the Games.

The second project for which funds have been sanctioned is the microzonation of Delhi to indicate impact of earthquakes in various parts of the city. ‘‘Delhi is located on a faultline and is susceptible to earthquakes. The department is in the process of carrying out a study to assess the impact of an earthquake on each area of 1sqkm. We are hoping to complete the study by the year-end and then carry out the study in 30 more cities,’’ said Tyagi.

The third project is a dedicated television channel that will relay information and news related specifically to weather. Officials said that work on this is also underway and various components of the work were being finalised.

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