Odisha govt signs MoU with Earth Networks to install lightning sensors

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding with USA-based firm Earth Networks install lightning detection and warning system in the state.

Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA) chairman Bishnupada Sethi signed the MoU with Earth Networks in the presence of Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Maheswar Mohanty for early weather warning like lightning, thunderstorm alerts etc.

The Earth Networks has the expertise on providing lightning early warning services in more than 50 countries and also providing services to West Bengal, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh states.

Earth Networks already has lightning sensors in the region and will install additional sensors in Odisha as needed to cover the entire state. The system would predict the lightning about 45 minutes in advance, said an official.

The system would also be helpful in the prediction of hail winds, hail storms, dangerous thunderstorms. The highly accurate forecasts can be provided with the precise location of the area likely to be affected.

This will facilitate dissemination of early warning through Mass Massaging and mobile-based application to the people of such localities enabling them to take suitable precautionary measures to save their lives.

Notably, lightning has emerged as a major disaster during the recent time. As many as 460 human lives have been lost during the year 2017-18 due to lightning, which records a 15% increase over that in the last year.

Concerned over the rising number of deaths due to lightning in Odisha, the State Government has taken all out efforts to mitigate the effects of lightning. The state government listed lightning as state-specific disaster enabling the dependants of the victims to get Rs 4.00 lakh as compensation.

Massive awareness campaign in TV and media has been initiated by the Government and posters & leaflets have been distributed in the villages.

Besides raising awareness among people about the disaster and sharing safety tips, the state government is making all-out efforts to minimize the death toll through appropriate technological interventions.