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#Monsoon2020 Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC): Connecting Science and Technology with Community and Governance

Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan
Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan

Disaster Management heavily depends on inputs from Science and Technology. KSNDMC has been serving as a common platform to the various response players in the field of Natural Disaster Management by providing timely proactive Science and Technology inputs.

80% of the Geographical area in the Karnataka state is prone to Drought, 22% of the Geographical area in the state is prone to moderate earthquake risks with ,the possibility of earthquakes with magnitude of 5 to 6.9, 24% of the Geographical area in the state is prone to cyclone and heavy winds, Land-slides do affects the areas with slops of more than 30%, The 359 km coastal line is prone to sea-erosion and Tsunami threat, Hailstorms are experienced almost every year and causes damages to crops, human lives and livestock’s. Karnataka state has been facing natural disasters consistently every year since 2001 causing losses of about RS 1,20,000 Crores during the said period.

Karnataka State has the distinction of being first in the country to establish a Drought Monitoring Cell (DMC) in 1988, on lines with US drought monitoring system, as an institutional mechanism to monitor various drought indicators. DMC was an autonomous body (Registered Society under Karnataka Society Registration Act) affiliated to Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of Karnataka. In 2007, the activities of DMC were broadened and Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC) was founded. KSNDMC continued as an autonomous body registered under society registration act.

The Disaster Management Act 2005, Government of India reiterates paradigm shift in Disaster Management from rescue, relief centric approach to Preparedness, Early Warning approach. Thus, with the following Objectives & Activities KSNDMC is providing a formal common platform to achieve synergy in the field of disaster management in Karnataka #Monsoon2020. 

The Founder Former Director Dr. V. S Prakash elaborates the preparedness made by KSNMDC in management of Natural disasters as an investment made on early warning and preparedness has high cost-benefit ratio. It comprises installation of field monitoring sensors - weather, geological, hydrological; collection of data on real time, transmission of the same to a central computational/analysis centre; data processing; analysis; alert recognition; simulation through appropriate mathematical models, customized report generation ; dissemination of the alerts/reports/advisories to the users.

The main Objectives of KSNDMC may be classified as below:

Hazard mapping and vulnerability studies.

Strengthening of Information Technology for Natural Disasters Management.

Monitoring and impact assessment of Natural Hazards.

Human Resource Development mainly by imparting training. Natural Disaster Early Warning System.

KSNDMC has Core activities which include maintaining & updating data base on drought and flood parameters, preparation and issuance of periodical reports on drought indicators and conducting integrated studies on Drought Management in the Drought prone districts of Karnataka. Along with the Core activities, the Important Peripheral activities of the centre are as below:

  • GPRS enabled and solar powered Telemetric Rain gauges are established and operational at 2565 stations in Karnataka.

  • Telemetric Weather Monitoring Stations installed and operational at 747 stations in Karnataka.

  • VSAT enabled and solar powered Permanent Seismic Monitoring stations installed and operational in the State.

  • Development and Calibration of Hobli level weather forecast mathematical model has been initiated in collaboration with CSIR – CMMACS, GoI.

  • Information, reports, advisories being made available through mobile phones, e-mail and web portal to DC’s, CEO’s. HQA’s, AC’s, Tahsildars, JD’s ( Agri), AD’s (Agri), Agri Officers, SP’s, RaithaSamparkaKendras, farmers facilitators under Bhoochethana Program, KrishiVigyanaKendras (KVKs), Universities, Civil Defense, Homeguards, Print and Electronic Media.

  • An Interactive Help-Desk(VarunaMitra) has been functioning 24x7x365 days to give advisories to farmers.

The Master Control Centre (MCC) is established centrally located MCC at Bangalore to receive and analyse data, received on near real time, Telemetric rain gauges, Satellite and GPRS linked weather stations, Doppler Weather Radar, Storm surge stations and  Earth quake monitoring stations.The KSNDMC provides inputs and assistance to various departments including the Agriculture Department s. They participate in the Video-Conference conducted every week and provides information about Rainfall, Temperature, Relative Humidity and Moisture Stress along with weather forecast at Hobli-level. The inputs provided are enabling Agriculture Department to plan their activities and also to evolve contingency plans. The customized information is being provided to the functionaries of the department up to Grampanchayath level. KSNDMC has been identified as a partner of the consortium for Bhoo-ChetanaPlus Program and Specifically for “Resilient Agriculture Investigators Network” (RAIN) #Monsoon2020.

As we go through the above details don’t we all think it’s imperative for each State to have its own System like KSNMDC at his critical juncture of having varied climatic changes in each nook and corner of the country. Is the Indian Metereological department enough to give us data we can rely on. Isn’t it necessary to have rainguages established in each Gram Panchayats? Isn’t an Interactive help desk required in each State to give advisories to farmers? Isn’t it necessary to have seismic monitoring stations in each state now that the frequency of earth quakes and tremors are far more than before ?Don’t we have to have to have a single entity in the State rather than invite multiple  parties to have their own Weather Stations and Weather Apps and Advisory Apps.

Whom to rely on is the question I have been seriously questioned by farmers. We really do not know the reliability and accuracy of each station established. Do they give advisories in other states too where they do not have access to, do they give advisories in general for country and not panchayat and district wise. Anyway the coming days of future are all critical in terms of weather change and climatic variabilities and each step we trend on should focus towards providing adequate data so that our food security is not troubled. I sincerely hope the recent pandemic of COVID-19 is an eyeopener to what needs immediate attention. Its truly sad if we do not learn from these and go back to making the same mistakes again and again.

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