Unhappy with the weather prediction capabilities of the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the Kerala government has entered into an agreement with three private weather companies - Skymet Private Ltd, Earth Networks and IBM Weather Company - for alerts and warnings about extreme weather conditions.
The Kerala Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA), which issued the order on June 19, has sanctioned Rs 95 lakh to buy weather data from the private companies, reported The Hindu on Tuesday. It further said that the services would be part of a one-year pilot project.
The KSDMA has been trying to rope in private players after the floods in 2018 and 2019. It got the government sanction early this month.
Media reports suggested that KSDMA had approached four companies for the data. However, the fourth company - Windy - did not find a place in the final list.
"Many states in the country are availing services of these companies," KSDMA's member secretary Sekhar Lukose Kuriakose was quoted as saying by the news agency IANS.
The Kerala government has been at loggerheads with the IMD after the Cyclone Ockhi in 2017 and the century's worst floods in 2018.
In both the cases, the government had complained that the state-run weather agency had failed to provide early warnings that would have helped it to take precautions.
Another reason for hiring the private companies is the unkept IMD promise of setting up of 15 Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) before the monsoon.
The IMD has not installed the AWS so far. In its order, KSDMA has noted that the data streaming was minimal to nil.