Tamil Nadu

State plans shortwave radio broadcasts to warn fishermen

After facing criticism for its failure to warn fishermen at sea during Cyclone Ockhi, the State government plans to use shortwave radio broadcasts to provide vital information.

The Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority (TNSDMA) will soon hold a meeting with the Regional Meteorological Centre and All India Radio to discuss the possibility of starting a dedicated radio station to disseminate weather forecasts to fishermen at deep sea. Shortwave radio, which has a frequency band extending up to 30 Mhz, can be used for long-distance communication, officials said.

Admitting that there were technological gaps in ensuring connectivity with deep sea fishermen, Rajendra Ratnoo, Commissioner, TNSDMA, said viable solutions were being discussed to bridge the communication gaps within a year. He was speaking at a seminar on Monsoons 2017, organised by Indian Meteorological Society, Chennai chapter, at the Regional Meteorological Centre here on Wednesday.

Elaborating on the disaster management operation during Cyclone Ockhi, he said various quarters were alerted immediately after the Meteorological Department had issued warning of depression on the noon of November 29. Following the rapid turn of events as Cyclone Ockhi intensified within a few hours, search and rescue operations were launched. The weather event rapidly intensified and was beyond the standard operating procedure issued.

Nearly 1,700 fishermen were rescued and 199 missing fishermen are believed to be dead. Of them, 139 belonged to Kanniyakumari district.

New proposals

TNSDMA is also collaborating with the Indian Space Research Organisation and the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services to develop a satellite-based application to facilitate emergency off-shore communication. Maintaining a registry for fishermen and mechanised boats, permanent naval station in Kanniyakumari and distribution of transponders and distress alert transmitters to fishermen were other proposals, he said.

On questions raised on the delayed weather forecast, S.B.Thampi, Deputy Director General of Meteorology, RMC, said Ockhi was one of the rare cyclonic storms that formed closer to the coast with such rapid intensification. “We have not witnessed cyclonic storms close to Kanniyakumari district in the last century. We gave a weather warning on time. There are limitations in science,” he said.

In his presentation on Northeast monsoon 2017, S. Balachandran, Director, Area Cyclone Centre, RMC, too said the weather warning for fishermen was issued on November 29. “The system intensified from a depression to a deep depression to a cyclone in nine hours and moved rapidly with double the speed,” he added.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2020 1:32:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/state-plans-shortwave-radio-broadcasts-to-warn-fishermen/article22883629.ece

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