Kochi, Jan 16 (PTI) Union Tourism Minister Alphons Kannanthanam today emphasised the need for ensuring the efficacy of existing technologies used for forecasting natural disasters like Cyclone Ockhi.

Citing the controversy which erupted over the warning of Cyclone Ockhi, which hit the Kerala coast on November 30, he said an introspection was required to understand what actually happened with the warning.

The Kerala government had claimed that a delayed warning had been issued, but the Centre had said that it was given on November 29 itself.

“Cyclone Ockhi has taken many lives in the coastal region. What is more disturbing is that we still do not know the accurate number of people who lost their lives owing to the disaster,” Kannanthanam said.

“An introspection is required to understand what has actually happened with the cyclone warning”,the minister said.

He was speaking at the second international symposium of the Societal Applications in Fisheries and Aquaculture using Remote Sensing Imagery (SAFARI), organised by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) here today.

The Minister said scientists and the authorities concerned must seriously look into these things.

“There is no point in engaging in a blame game between the Centre and the State. It is need of the hour to develop adequate technologies to mitigate such disasters”, he said.

Stating that the communication system has to be improved, he said scientists working in the area should ensure the efficacy of existing technologies, reliability of the data and models to predict such disasters.

Satellite and remote sensing data could be used to improve the system, the minister said.

He opined that scientists should focus on community oriented research work. They should ensure that their research benefits the common people so that they could be saved from such disasters and their living standards improved, he said.

Kannanthanam said studies in the fisheries and marine sectors should help upgrade the socio-economic status of fisherfolk.

The minister also said that satellite and remote sensing data would be made use to develop eco-tourism in the country.

“There is a huge opportunity for eco-tourism in India.The Tourism Ministry is well receptive of using the technology of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in this regard,” he said, adding that the remote sensing technology would be used to start adventure tourism in valleys of the Himalayas.

CMFRI Director A Gopalakrishnan presided over the meet.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.