BHUBANESWAR: The State Government on Monday decided to set up around 6500 automatic weather stations (AWS) and automatic rain gauges (ARGs) for scientific management of drought.
This was decided at a high-level meeting of the State Drought Monitoring Cell (SDMC) chaired by Chief Secretary AP Padhi.
“It was decided to set up around 6500 AWS and ARGs in different parts of the State through Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA), Water Resource and Agriculture departments, Central Relief Commissioner and Indian Metrological Department (IMD),” said OSDMA Managing Director Pradeepta Mohapatra.The Chief Secretary directed to set up Farmers’ Advisory Cell in the Agriculture department to advise the farmers about appropriate measures to be taken as per the weather conditions.
The Cell will issue advisory to the farmers on the basis of weather readings and soil moisture conditions availed from AWS and ARGs.
Padhi further directed to establish the AWS and ARGs on the ground in secured locations. It was decided to locate those on the premises of gram panchayat offices and OPTCL power stations. These stations would have GIS coordinates.
Under the new system, SDMC will monitor the data received from these automatic stations. Other parameters like rain-fall deviation, dry spell situation, vegetation indices and crop situation, soil moisture and hydrological indices will be integrated and analysed scientifically on regular basis for advanced assessment of any drought like situation, Mohapatra added.
He said nodal officers will be nominated by the departments of Agriculture and Farmers Empowerment, Water Resources, Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Fisheries and Animal Resource Development, Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water and IMD to coordinate with SDMC and furnish required data on weekly basis.
Meanwhile, the State Government has signed a MoU with Karnataka Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre for mutual exchange of knowledge, technical know-how and subject expertise for more effective monitoring of drought units.An expert committee has also been constituted in SDMC to provide technical advice and recommendations, Mohapatra said.