May 2 dust storm: Blame game between Centre, IMD over accountability for over 100 deaths in UP, Rajasthan

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New Delhi | Updated: May 8, 2018 12:13:50 PM

A natural calamity often results in a trail of destruction and loss of lives and property. It also poses a big challenge to authorities concerned over the impact and also tests their preparedness.

STORM IN NORTH INDIAThe severe dust storm that swept several states on May 2, wreaked havoc in parts of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan resulting in the death of over 100 people.

A natural calamity often results in a trail of destruction and loss of lives and property. It also poses a big challenge to authorities concerned over the impact and also tests their preparedness. The severe dust storm that swept several states on May 2, wreaking havoc in parts of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan resulting in the death of over 100 people, is witnessing a tussle over fixing accountability. Days after the calamity, a blame game has erupted between the central government and the India Meteorological Department (IMD) over the “lapses” in the latter’s early warning mechanism, according to The Indian Express report.

As per the report, the Centre has sought an explanation from IMD citing the failure in its forecasting mechanisms to prevent the deaths. The weather agency has shot back stating that it had informed the chief secretaries of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh about the storm and blamed them for failing to “disseminate the information”. The IMD has categorically said that its role was to forecast and issue alerts. But, the responsibility over taking steps and alerting people lies with the state authorities.

“…written observations on the steps taken to issue warnings. The IMD is not to be blamed… We provided a warning of up to five days before the May 2 storm,” an IMD official was quoted as saying by IE.

While CM Yogi Adityanath had also blamed the IMD for failing to provide “adequate information”, BJP-ruled Rajasthan government has also claimed that the weather agency’s information was not ‘specific’.

“The NDMA provides normative guidance that needs to be then adapted to the local context,” National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) member Kamal Kishore said. Kishore said the NDMA had prepared videos on precautions to be taken during lightning. These videos were in English and Hindi and could be translated to local languages, according to IE.

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