Millennium Post

Now, get lightning alerts 11/2 hours before it strikes

Kolkata: In a bid to save around 100 lives a year, the state government has decided to develop a state-of-the-art technology to predict lightning and to alert people at least one-and-a-half-hours ahead of it's striking time at a particular location.
According to a senior official at the state Secretariat, Nabanna, at least five to six people die due to lightning on a day when it takes place heavily in different parts of the state.
"In such a situation we have decided to develop an infrastructure that will enable us to forecast lightning so that we can convey the message at least one-and-a-half-hours before it strikes to people at the grassroot level," said the official adding that a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed with an expert company of the US that has begun working on the project.
As per the planning, eight gadgets will be installed at different parts of the state that will help in the forecast. Immediately after their prediction, related information will reach the central control room of the state disaster management department at Nabanna.
The concerned officials there will be forwarding the messages alerting the concerned officials of the state government starting from those in the districts to the top brass at the state Secretariat and people's representatives at the grassroot level.
The message will get circulated through the officials and people's representatives at the grassroot level. Citing an example, the official said: "Let us consider that lightning at a certain location will take place at a given time when a school at that same place is going on. In such a case, the schoolchildren may be asked to leave a bit early or may be asked to stay back to avoid any accident. It will also save lives of many farmers who work on agricultural lands without any knowledge of the impending lightning strikes. They will also receive alerts and get sufficient time to search for a safe shelter.
According to the official, the entire project is expected to be complete before the monsoon sets in next year and the system is getting developed for both South Bengal and North Bengal districts.
It is learnt that the cost of running the project will be only around Rs 45 lakh every year.
It may be mentioned that this comes at a time when the state government has taken several measures to ensure safety of people during natural calamity. Moreover, the state government at present ensures that a person affected due to any such disaster gets compensation within minimum time. The maximum time taken to provide compensation is seven days.
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