Kolkata, Aug 13 (PTI) Weather data recording has

become an unusual casualty of the two-month long Darjeeling

agitation as the weather station there is unable to record

temperature and rainfall figures as its employees cannot

attend office owing to the indefinite strike.

This has in turn impacted the administration’s

preparedness to plan and provide relief as it is unaware of

the exact amount of rainfall during the current monsoon.

Five districts in sub-Himalayan West Bengal –

Jalpaiguri, Coochbehar, Alipurduar, Darjeeling and Kalimpong

have been experiencing very to very heavy rains for the last

few days. But the precipitation figures for Darjeeling has not

been available with the regional Met department here.

“We are not getting official data on rainfall in

Darjeeling. This is affecting preparedness in taking action to

tackle the flood situation there,” West Bengal Irrigation

Minister Rajib Banerjee told PTI here.

This is not only affecting the people in the hills

but also those in the plains as excess water which flows down

the mountains flood the plains, he said.

“The situation has arisen owing to the state

government employees not being able to attend office due to

the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha-led agitation in the hills,” the

minister said.

While the Met department is providing forecast for the

region using satellite data, it is not being able to provide

rainfall or temperature data which have to be physically

recorded at the weather station.

Recordings of weather data at some part-time

observatories are done by state government offices, which then

pass on the figures to the regional IMD office, a Met

department official said.

The part-time observatory in Darjeeling is located in

the Raj Bhawan area and is manned by some officials of the

state PWD there, he said.

“We are not getting data from Darjeeling for some

time. As far as we know, employees who do the recordings are

not being able to come to office,” a senior official at the

regional Met office, which is under the central government,

said.

“Lack of information on rainfall at times like this

when the region is lashed by very heavy rains for several days

can affect the administration’s preparedness to tackle the

situation,” the official said.

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), which is spearheading

the agitation, had specifically asked West Bengal government

employees not to attend office as part of their pressure

tactic in demanding a separate hill state of Gorkhaland. PTI

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.