After the Bombay High Court rapped the state and the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) for the presence of the doppler radar continuing to stall projects in south Mumbai, the director of the state disaster management unit has written to the Collectors of Thane and Raigad asking them to suggest suitable locations for the second doppler radar.
Director I A Kundan wrote to the collectors after city guardian minister, Jayant Patil, insisted on this during a meeting with officials from the state and IMD on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, of the 14 potential sites compiled by the BMC, which mainly included reservoirs within the city, IMD officials visited 11. Of these, two sites – at Bhandup water pumping station and Veravali hill reservoir at Andheri – have found favour with IMD officials, said Patil.
The IMD, however, said that while the two sites were among the most feasible so far, setting up the radar at these lcoations won’t solve the height restriction issue completely. “The Bhandup and Andheri sites were the highest ones shown to us, with both being above 95 metres. However, setting up the radar at these sites won’t allow us to completely do away with the present height restriction, but allow taller buildings than are allowed at present. Buildings up to 400 metres have already been approved in the city,” said K S Hosalikar, Deputy Director-General of Meteorology, IMD Mumbai.
“We are still working on these two sites to check feasibility, but we are 70 per cent against having the radar at these two sites.”Officials from the state and the IMD are hoping to find a suitable site for the second radar in Thane and Raigad distrcits.
“We are working with the state goverment to find a suitable location in these two districts,” said SG Kamble, director of doppler weather radar (DWR), IMD Mumbai.The existing DWR (15 tonnes) is fitted atop an 18-storey (around 70 metres) building in Navy Nagar at Colaba. In August last year, a group of developers had written to the state government against a two-year-old rule that said any proposal for a high-rise within 10-km radius of the doppler radar must get clearance from the IMD, which disallows vertical growth beyond 77 m (22 floors) in the region.
Citing technical and administrative difficulties, IMD officials had informed the state that the existing radar at Colaba cannot be shifted and instead, suggested installing a second DWR, most likely a smaller C-band DWR, as a solution to the issue of height restrictions. “From the beginning we have maintained that shifting the radar will not work. If the new radar is approved, it would be installed at a height of at least 150 metres from sea level,” said Kamble.
With the new radar, IMD can receive information on weather patterns that they otherwise won’t receive if high-rises come up in the vicinity of the existing radar. Data from the ‘shadow’ regions can be taken from the new radar and so we won’t have to limit the height of the buildings near the Colaba radar, added Kamble.