New Delhi: The India Meteorological Department (IMD) is teaming up with state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) to send extreme weather warnings to people, a senior Ministry of Earth Sciences official said.
The move comes after the IMD came under criticism from several quarters, including some state governments for not sending out specific alerts, a charge that was denied.
The IMD is trying to team up with BSNL to push the alerts to people. The alerts will be about impending extreme weather conditions such as storms and heatwave, said, M Rajeevan, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences
Area-specific alerts will be sent to users if they happen to be at a place likely to experience extreme weather conditions, even if their phone numbers do not belong to that particular telecom circle. If a BSNL user has travelled from Pune to Delhi, where extreme weather conditions are expected , he will still get the alert, Mr Rajeevan added.
The exercise is being carried out in an experimental stage, and if successful the plan is to rope in other weather agencies also
Mr Rajeevan, however, said the government agencies have limitations in disseminating information, especially in scenarios like thunderstorms where events unfold very quickly.
Thunderstorms led to 200 deaths in the country this month with Uttar Pradesh alone accounting for half them. In 2016, extreme weather conditions had claimed 1,600 lives.
Mr Rajeevan added that since the IMD cannot reach every individual, there must an intermediate agency that could pass on the forecast to people.
The PMO had recently asked the weather office to send weather advisories to people.