Kolkata: With the introduction of lightning alert system, which generates an sms alerting people at least 45 minutes ahead of an actual lightning strike, by the state Disaster Management and Civil Defence department, many lives have been saved mainly in the rural parts of the state.
It was on February 1 when the state government had introduced the state-of-the-art technology using which lightning could be predicted and information with specific location as in where it would strike is disseminated.
An expert company from US along with the state Disaster Management and Civil Defence department put the system in place that is helping to generate alarm amongst
people even in the furthest corner of the state and people are getting time to move to a safer place before the lightning strikes.
According to a senior official of the state Disaster Management and Civil Defence department, this is the first time when such a system is being used while the number of lightning strikes have also gone up drastically in the state.
Usually, heavy lightning strikes from mid April and it continues till the end of monsoon.
The system has proven fruitful as the officials are receiving good feedback as to how it is helping people to move to a safer place after getting the alert that lightning might strike.
According to the official, a few days ago he received 110 "lightning alert" messages in just a span of six hours. The alert messages contain names and location of the blocks where lightning would strike.
Officials up to Block Development Officer (BDO) level and members of Panchayat receive alerts.
The officials disseminate the information amongst the locals within a short span of time and people take precautions as required.
District Magistrates also receive alerts and can coordinate with the concerned officials in this connection and it helps in taking prompt action and saving more lives.
According to the data available with the state government, 294 people were killed due to lightning in 2016-17. Each of them received a compensation of Rs 2 lakh.
Devices like sensors have been installed at places including Siliguri, Cooch Behar, Raiganj, Jangipur in Murshidabad, Haldia, Kolkata and Kharagpur.