Court questions Himachal on calamity handling readiness

July 27th, 2011 - 8:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Shimla, July 27 (IANS) The Himachal Pradesh High Court Wednesday took a serious note of the lack of preparedness of the state government in handling natural calamities like cloudbursts.

The division bench of Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Sanjay Karol, while hearing a public interest litigation, issued a notice to the government and others over the death of four labourers last week following a cloudburst in upper Manali in Kullu district.

Those killed in the accident were workers involved in construction of the Rohtang road tunnel. Three labourers were still missing, said petitioner Jagdish Vats.

The petition said the lives of several labourers could have been saved had the administrative machinery been alert and prepared for rescue measures.

“If the state government had taken steps to install Doppler weather radars as suggested by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) for advance warning on natural calamities, such disasters could be prevented,” the petition said.

Kullu¸ Shimla and Kinnaur districts in the state are prone to cloudbursts.

The high court directed Chief Secretary Rajwant Sandhu to respond on steps taken for installation of Doppler radars.

Meanwhile, the IMD has started the process to set up its high-tech observatory in Shimla.

“The state’s first weather centre with a high powered radar system will soon be installed at Jakhu Hills that will have an aerial reach of 150 km,” Shimla Meteorological Office director Manmohan Singh told IANS.

He said the state government had earmarked two acres of land for the observatory.

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