On Sunday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis inaugurated the state’s first automatic weather station at Dongargaon in Nagpur. An automatic weather station (AWS) is an automated version of the traditional weather station, put in place either to save human labour or to enable measurements from remote areas.
Addressing the farmer's gathering after the inauguration, the CM said,
Around 2,065 such weather stations will come up across Maharashtra on the public private partnership (PPP) model this year, and 1,000 of these will be set up by June.
In addition to the Chief Minister, Agriculture Minister Pandurang Fundkar, Nagpur Guardian Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule, and top bureaucrats and officials of weather forecast firm Skymet Weather Private Ltd, which will be setting up such stations, were present on the occasion. The CM further added,
This is one of the unique projects in the country, which will measure wind direction, wind speed, air temperature, relative humidity, and record amount of rainfall. This information will be shared with farmers who can then manage sowing in a much better and planned way, as per the weather conditions.
The weather conditions for farmers in different regions will be available on the Mahavedh portal (Maharashtra agriculture weather information network) and the mobile application of Skymet, said a PTI report.
The IMD forecast is limited to four zones. However, this new system of AWS will provide forecast up to taluka level. Around 12×12 km area of the taluka will have one AWS.
Fadnavis further said that the digital kiosks will be set up in every gram panchayat, to provide weather information and expert advice on crop patterns to be followed by the farmers. In the first phase, information will be shared using SMS, and in the second, all the gram panchayats will get half hourly weather condition information.
He also highlighted the importance of power and water, and how Jalyukta Shivar (the water conservation programme of the Maharashtra government) is helping villages increase their irrigation potential. Fadnavis said that due to increased irrigation, for the first time in the last seven or eight years, the agriculture growth rate has turned positive.