Kolkata: The lightning detection system put up under the initiative of the State Disaster Management and Civil Defence Department has been a saviour of sorts in many districts across Bengal. The state-of-the-art system was introduced on February 1 this year, using which lightning can be predicted and information, with specific location, disseminated. An American company had put the system in place.
Devices like sensors have been installed at places including Siliguri, Cooch Behar, Raiganj, Jangipur (in Murshidabad district), Haldia, Kolkata and Kharagpur.
The system generates an SMS alerting people at least 45 minutes before a lightning strike. The alert messages contain names and location of the blocks where lightning would strike.
Officials up to the level of block development officer (BDO) and members of panchayats receive the alerts. They then disseminate the information amongst the locals within a short span of time and people take precautions as prescribed.
District Magistrates also receive alerts and can coordinate with the concerned officials in this connection and it helps in taking prompt action and saving more lives.
According to a senior official of the Disaster Management Department, this is the first time that such a system is being used, and helpfully, at a time when lightning strikes have gone up drastically.
Usually, heavy lightning occurs from mid-April till the end of monsoon. The system has proven fruitful as the officials are receiving good feedback as to how it is helping people to move to a safer place after getting the alert that lightning might strike.
The system is helping generate alarm among people even in the furthest corners of the State and so people are getting time to move to a safer place before lightning strikes.