‘Inaccurate’ IMD forecast leaves tourism, fishing sectors fuming in Kerala

In the wake of the IMD’s warning, the fishers who ventured into the sea were forced to return, while the hotel industry witnessed a huge number of booking cancellations.

Published: 10th October 2018 08:46 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th October 2018 08:46 AM   |  A+A-

Rain Clouds

Image used for representational purpose only. (File photo | EPS)

Express News Service

KOCHI: The erratic and inaccurate forecast of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) is drawing huge flak from the fishermen community and the tourism sector. In the wake of the IMD’s warning, the fishers who ventured into the sea were forced to return, while the hotel industry witnessed a huge number of booking cancellations in Munnar. 

ALSO READ | Allow IMD to set up another 188 rain gauges in state, Kerala asks Centre

Following the controversy over the delayed forecast in the August deluge, the IMD had last week issued red alerts in Idukki, Palakkad and Thrissur districts from October 6-8, triggering sudden large-scale cancellation of hotel bookings in Munnar. 

This had made huge dent in the fortunes of the hotels in the hill destination, which was slowly clawing back for the busy tourist season with Neelakurinji in full bloom. As far as the fishers are concerned, about 135 fishing boats returned home “empty handed” following the cyclone forecast, which did not strike contrary to the warnings by the IMD.

“After the failure of the IMD to accurately predict cyclone Ockhi, we have been demanding that the IMD should be disbanded. There was information at least two days ago that cyclone Luban was moving towards Oman from the Arabian Sea,” said Charles George, president, Kerala Matsythozhilali Aikyavedi. Due to the failure of the authorities to communicate this information, the fishers have lost a big catch as this was a good season, he said. “The lives may have been saved, but the fishermen’s livelihood is lost,” he said.
Charles said Kerala should go for partnerships or tie-ups with agencies such as Indian National Centre For Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Hyderabad, or other reliable private weather forecasters for a more accurate weather forecast.

Booking cancellations
Siby Joseph, a partner of Spice Country Group of Resorts, Munnar, said post the floods, the entire hotel and resorts have spent a considerable amount of money and time to market the tourist destination. “There are at least 500 hotels and 200 homestays in Munnar. On average, the hotels have spent `1-`3 lakh for marketing Munnar. Then came the red alert last week, resulting in a spree of cancellations,” said Joseph.
According to him, at the time of the issuance of the red alert, there were 200 travel agents in Munnar, brought by the industry to market the destination.

“Everyone suddenly packed their bags and literally ran. Since this is the second cancellation in quick succession, we are staring at a huge loss of business in the entire tourist season,” he said. “Something needs to be done to bring more accuracy in the Met prediction. It is sad despite having the best climate now in Munnar, most hotels are empty,” he said.

Faulty warning system?
The IMD’s warning last week had forced the fishers who had ventured into the sea to return “empty handed”
In the wake of the red alert for Idukki district, the hotel industry witnessed sudden largescale cancellation of bookings in Munnar 
This had made a huge dent in the fortunes of hotels in the hill destination


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