New Delhi: The Union Ministry of Earth Sciences (MOES) has disputed Kerala government's claim that it did not receive advance warning on Cyclone Ockhi from the weather bureau in Thiruvananthapuram. The ministry on Wednesday asserted that a weather bulletin carrying the information was indeed made available to the chief secretary, along with one to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) center in the state capital.
The ministry also dismissed as meaningless the argument that technical indications in the alert could not be comprehended as the chief secretary's office handles such weather warnings on a regular basis.
A special bulletin issued at 11.50 am on November 29 indicated the possibility of a low pressure turning into a depression. Experts at the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) should have realized the possibility of a depression turning into a cyclone.
Besides, it is the responsibility of the state government to issue an alert to fishermen after receiving the warning that the sea will get rough and hence, they should not venture out for the next 48 hours. The ministry points out that the 'depression' marking in the satellite picture warning given at 2.15 pm on November 29 is a clear directive for emergency action.
Those who handle warnings at the chief secretary's office and at the SDMA are aware of the meaning of color variations in the weather bulletins. Four separate bulletins were issued on November 29, instead of the routine weather notices. The sixth bulletin issued on November 30 carried a satellite picture which had a 'deep depression' marking in red letters, suggesting a cyclone.
Cyclone Ochki hit the state's southern coast on November 30, claiming over 30 lives, most of them of fishermen, injuring many and damaging properties. However, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday said that the government did not receive advance cyclone warnings.