ROURKELA: The Steel City of Rourkela with high concentration of industrial activities and facing extreme weather conditions, including erratic rainfall, does not have any weather monitoring station of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD). Though the nearest Automatic Weather Station (AWS) of IMD is at Sundargarh district headquarters, it is of no help as the town is located about 100 km from Rourkela.
Similarly, the Environment Engineering department of the RSP has its own weather monitoring facility but its data is not used by the IMD.
On the other hand, the automatic weather monitoring facility of Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) at Rourkela has been lying defunct since long. However, the rainfall data about Rourkela is available on the Odisha Rainfall Monitoring System (ORMS).
Sources said enormous manufacturing activities in and around Rourkela make it vulnerable to erratic climatic behaviour. Over the last several days, the City, comprising Rourkela Municipal Corporation limits and Rourkela Industrial Township of Rourkela Steel Plant with a combined population of 5.25 lakh, is consistently sizzling with mercury hovering around 45-46 degree Celsius.
An environmental engineer of OSPCB said a permanent weather monitoring facility of IMD is necessary to record climatic behaviour in the City.
National Institute of Technology-Rourkela Director Prof SK Sarangi said at present no real time meteorological observations and forecast are possible for the City. Technology has become cheaper and weather-related data should be available to all.
An IMD facility in the City will help analyse the possible impacts of climate variability and change, issue advisories on crop-weather relationships and agro-meteorological services to farmers of nearest blocks, he added.
When contacted, Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram said he was unaware that no IMD facility is available for the City and he would write to the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences on the matter. Bhubaneswar-based IMD Director S C Sahu said there is a proposal to set up an AWS at Panposh here to monitor temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind speed and rainfall.