Unhappy with the ‘inaccurate weather feeds provided by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), Maharashtra would be having its own network of automatic weather stations. Five years after it was first mooted, the automatic weather stations (AWS) in Maharashtra would finally see the light of day and be operational in one year.
In May, the Maharashtra Government appointed Skymet as its consultant for the project. Founded and run by former TV journalist Jatin Singh, Skymet has expertise in the field of running private weather stations and providing information to firms like power and insurance companies.
According to state Agricultural Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, the Agriculture Department is currently depended on the weather predictions from the IMD, which at times have not been able to give accurate data that could be passed on to the farmers for crop planning.
For instance in 2005, no warning came forth from the IMD that the several regions would be witnessing an unprecedented deluge. Maharashtra is the first state in the country to embark on the ambitious project to install 2,025 AWS in the state as at present the total number of the AWS in the entire country is 2,000.
The `122 crore private-public partnership project (PPP) aims to deploy one AWS in all of its revenue circles and has funding from the Centre under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana.