The effects of long-term climate change has been pronounced as the global population is faced with a wide range of hazards including tropical cyclones, heavy rains, heat waves and droughts which require measures to protect lives, livelihoods and property from weather related events, experts said at the launching of a research centre on environment and climate at the SOA (Deemed to be University) here on Friday.
“The intensity of such weather events is going to increase. The number of events may remain the same but the intensity will be far greater. For example, we may have the same number of cyclones, but they would be more destructive,” Prof. U.C.Mohanty, Professor Emeritus at IIT, Bhubaneswar said while addressing the gathering of meteorologists, scientists, researchers and environmental activists who attended the inauguration of the Centre for Environment and Climate (CEC).
The event, which coincided with the World Meteorological Day, also included a two-day workshop on Regional Environment and Climate in Odisha (RECO-2018) with its theme being ‘Lightning, Thunderstorm and Heat Wave.’ This is the 13th research centre to be set up by SOA, recently included among an elite list of 52 universities given special status and autonomy by UGC.
Speaking on climate change, Prof. Mohanty said the monsoon had already become erratic and it was not possible to stop the process. “The need is to understand it, forewarn people before natural hazards and save lives and property,” he added.
Dr. Saurav Garg, Principal Secretary to the state government in the Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment department, inaugurated the new research centre. Dr. Bishnupada Sethi, Odisha’s Special Relief Commissioner, Dr. Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, Additional Director General at IMD, New Delhi, Dr. S.C.Sahu, Director of IMD, Bhubaneswar and Prof. P.K.Nanda, Dean (Research) of SOA also addressed the program presided over by Prof. Amit Banerjee, Vice-Chancellor of SOA.
The speakers congratulated SOA for launching the CEC saying it would contribute greatly in combating climate change leading to societal benefits and sustainable development. The secretariat of the Odisha chapter of Indian Meterorlogical Society (IMS) will also function from the premises of the new centre.
Prof. Mohanty said measures to face such weather hazards and reduce their impact were being worked out and the Odisha government had done well to evacuate nearly one million people from the coastal areas before the cyclone ‘Phailin’ struck the state with a 220 kmph wind force in 2013.
“While around 10,000 people died in the super cyclone of 1999 that hit the Odisha coast with a wind speed of 300 kmph, the death toll in 2013 was less than 20. Three factors-- correct prediction, quick dissemination of information by the media and the administration’s efforts to evacuate the vulnerable population contributed towards reducing the impact,” he said.
The state government had prepared itself to face such weather hazards and was the first state to launch the Odisha State Disaster Mitigation Authority (OSDMA), Prof. Mohanty said.
The state, Prof. Mohanty said, also faced the hazard of lightning deaths particularly during the monsoon (June-August) as mostly farmers, who worked in open fields, fell victim to such hazards. But such deaths could be reduced substantially with the development in technology and forecast system, he said.
Dr. Garg said the focus had been on climate change for nearly two decades and change was perceptible. The experts, he said, must throw light on what needed to be done and reduce loss of lives and property.
Mr. Sethi said SOA’s decision to set up a research centre on climate was a monumental step as climate change was the big issue.
Stating that natural disasters visited Odisha on a regular basis, he said it often caught the administration on the wrong foot. Giving the example of a flash flood in Kalyansinghpur block of Rayagada district last year, Mr. Sethi said there was no prior information about possibility of heavy rains in the area which had no history of floods in the past. “But due to concerted effort of the administration, all the affected people were rescued within 12 hours and relief provided to them,” he said adding erratic rainfall was triggering droughts in different areas.
Dr. Sahu said heat wave and lightning were the principal hazards in Odisha during the summer and monsoon months but people could be alerted several hours in advance about such possibilities.
While 2000 to 2500 people died in India after being struck by lightning every year, the figure was more than 300 in Odisha, he said adding lightning killed few people in developed countries.
Dr. Mohapatra congratulated SOA for launching the CEC saying it would emerge as a centre of excellence. The IMD, continuing its modernization, had achieved a lot during the last six years and was actively collaborating with different institutions for furthering its activity, he said.
Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan (SOA) Deemed to be University’s achievements in a nutshell
The ranking survey conducted by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), Ministry of HRD, in April 2018, has ranked Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan is the Youngest among top 25 in University category in India. It is the Leading Deemed University in the East and 3rd Best Multidisciplinary Deemed University in India. The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), has also accredited SOA with ‘A’ grade, and has termed this deemed to be university as socially inclusive, which is a big achievement in itself.
SOA is proud to be associated with 9 degree granting institutes, which has a whopping strength of 10,000 students. The institute leaves no stone unturned in providing quality education in the field of medicine, engineering & technology, dental sciences, management sciences, pharmaceutical sciences, law, nursing, hospitality, tourism management and agriculture. SOA keeps on updating its curriculum from time to time as per the latest industry trends and believes in providing education to students with a holistic approach.
The department of Institute of Technical Education and Research (ITER), faculty of engineering and technology of SOA, has now become the 4th institute in the country to get 3 of its programs accredited by the reputed Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), USA. This shows the commitment and dedication of Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan’s vision to work towards the skill development of students and betterment of the society.
This shows the capability and willingness of Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan to provide quality education to students and conduct ground-breaking research work in various fields. SOA has been expanding and new disciplines are on the anvil. But the principal objective remains to ensure that students, while training to be professionals, value their own lives as that of others.
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