Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis today inaugurated the state’s first automatic weather station at Dongargaon here. “Around 2,065 such weather stations will come across Maharashtra on public-private partnership (PPP) model in this year and 1,000 of these will be set up by June 2017,” said Fadnavis while addressing a farmers’ gathering after the inauguration. Agriculture minister Pandurang Fundkar, guardian minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule, top bureaucrats and officials of weather forecast firm Skymet Weather Private Ltd, which will be setting up such stations, were present on the occasion.
“This is one of the unique projects in the country, which will measure wind direction, wind speed, air temperature, relative humidity and the record amount of rainfall. “This information will be shared with farmers who can then manage to sow in a much better and planned way as per the weather conditions,” said Fadnavis.
The weather conditions for farmers in different regions will be available on the Mahavedh portal (Maharashtra agriculture weather information network) and mobile application of Skymet. “The IMD forecast is limited to four zones. However, this new system of automatic weather station (AWS) will provide forecast upto taluka level,” said the chief minister. “Around 12×12 kms area of the taluka will have one AWS,” he said.
Fadnavis said digital kiosks will be set-up in every Gram Panchayat to provide weather information and expert advice on crop pattern to be followed by the farmers. In the first phase, information will be shared using SMS and in the second phase all the Gram Panchayats will get half-hourly weather condition information.
The chief minister also highlighted the importance of power and water and how Jalyukta Shivar (water conservation programme of the Maharashtra government) is helping villages increase their irrigation potential. Fadnavis said due to increased irrigation, for the first time the agriculture growth rate has turned positive in last 7 to 8 years.