The IMD along with state governments is making concerted efforts to ensure last mile connectivity for dissemination of information on heatwave, the death toll due to which stood at more than 700 last year, and to reduce the number of such casualties. The India Meteorological Department along with National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has asked states to take steps to avert deaths due to heatwave. The weatherman has already predicted an “above normal” summer with occurrence of heatwave at several places.
IMD Director General K G Ramesh said the weather department would release heatwave forecast every Thursday for April, May and June. “We recently had a meeting with states and advised them to take necessary steps so that lives are not lost due to heatwave. We are also ensuring last mile connectivity so that information on heatwave can be disseminated to the masses,” he said.
Northwest India, including several parts of Gangetic plains, coastal Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, are known to be core heatwave zones. Nearly 1,600 people lost their lives in 2015 and 700 in 2016, with the majority of cases coming from Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.
Ramesh said Maharashtra, Odisha, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu have taken various steps to avoid casualties due to heatwave. Citing the example of Telangana, he said the state has decided to close schools by 1:30 PM so that students are not exposed to heat during the peak period.
“We have set a target to minimise the number of deaths due to heatwave to a two-digit figure. Dissemination of information is very important as we can only collect data, but action is taken by the local government. “For this, last mile connectivity is crucial and we will ensure that information on heatwave reaches people,” Ramesh added.
M Rajeevan Nair, Secretary of Ministry of Earth Science, urged all states to take pro-active steps to deal with heatwave.