Agitating farmers attempt to shut down city’s IMD office

Namrata Devikar
Tuesday, 16 October 2018

They allege that wrong forecasts by Met Dept caused huge losses

Pune: Members of the Shetkari Sangharsh Samiti tried to shut down the India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) office at Shivajinagar on Monday, alleging that the Met Department officials have been issuing inaccurate weather forecasts.

Speaking to Sakal Times, Gangabhishan Thavre, Chief of Shetkari Sangharsh Samiti, said that last year and this year also, predictions of IMD have turned out to be inaccurate and have led to huge losses for farmers.

The farmers’ organisation has a majority of supporters from Majalgaon in Beed district, which is severely affected by the drought.

“Last year, we had filed a first information report (FIR) in Beed that due to inaccurate forecasts of the IMD, there have been losses to farmers. We decided to visit the IMD and lock it up as they have misled us this year also,” said Thavre.

He said due to the inaccurate forecasts, many farmers suffered losses in tur, cotton, soyabean and sugarcane crops.

“We should resort to traditional methods of forecasting that our ancestors used as IMD gave us inaccurate information time and again,” said Thavre.

He added that their organisation demanded that under crop insurance, money should be paid back by the insurance company.

Sharing similar sentiments, farmer leader and Member of Parliament Raju Shetti demanded shutting down of the Met office owing to its gross failure in predicting the monsoon.

An official statement released by Yogesh Pande, spokesperson for Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana on behalf of Raju Shetti, said that since May, the Met department predicted a normal to regular monsoon.

“Initial forecasts of the Met department echoed 5 per cent above normal rain in the State, while by October, the country received much lower rainfall than estimated. In Marathwada, Vidarbha and north Maharashtra, the situation is even worse, where rain has been 40 pc to 70 pc below average leading to severe drought situation,” said Shetti.

He said farmers purchased seeds and fertilisers trusting the Met department’s forecasts. However, most of the Kharif crops are in danger exposing farmers to serious financial problems. 

Shetti alleged that wrong prediction of a normal to excess rain were made by the Met department. “Several parts of the country, including Maharashtra, are facing a drought due to the failure of the monsoon. The State should declare drought immediately and protect farmers and cattle, else things could turn very serious. If the Met department continues such bogus predictions, then Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana will lock the Met department offices,” warned Shetti.

Overall rainfall deficiency
Dr AK Srivastava, Head of Climate Monitoring and Analysis Group, IMD said across the country, figures of deficiency of rainfall are mostly due to the huge rainfall deficiency in northeastern states.

Similarly, for Maharashtra, we have central Maharashtra, Konkan and Goa, Vidarbha and Marathwada. In all regions, except Marathwada, there has been normal rainfall as predicted by us. Only in Marathwada, there has been an overall deficiency of 22 per cent,” said Srivastava. 
However, IMD officials also agreed that accurate weather predictions cannot be done for specific areas three months in advance. The Met department can only provide accurate data three days in advance.

In another clarification by IMD officials, they strongly condemned reports accusing the department of colluding with seed and fertiliser companies in Maharashtra.

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