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LAHORE: The federal government is all set to install 300 automatic weather stations at tehsil level throughout the country to enrich meteorological data and avoid the vulnerabilities of climate change.

Reliable sources said the World Bank would provide Rs 10 billion funds for the purpose and the ministry of climate change would supervise the project in collaboration with Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) and the four provincial governments.

They further said the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) would support the federal government separately for the installation of similar stations in Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan and the glacier regions of the country.

The Director General PMD will look after the project as project director (PD) in addition to his present obligations.

Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman is also actively pursuing the matter with the World Bank in order to ensure the stations on ground before the next general elections. She has already played a proactive role in the approval of the same from the federal government.

According to sources, survey teams of PMD are set to submit the longitude and latitude details of the sites at tehsil level by Friday (today) in order to proceed ahead as the federal government is planning to complete the project by the end of current year.

It may be noted that not a single observatory is available at the district and tehsil levels throughout the country, leading the devastating impacts of floods and rains. In Balochistan, they said, the situation is even more pathetic due to the non-availability of observatories and gauges in nullahs to gauge rain accuracy during the monsoon. There is a general understanding in government circles that ground stations are more urgent to deal with the situation against radars, they added.

The project would also be a blessing for the agriculture sector, as many essential food staples are hit hard by floods and rains every now and then, putting the livability of some 240 million population of the country.

Sources said the World Bank has also concerns that any devastating impact on the agriculture of the country due to the climatic urgencies would also disturb food supply to the regional countries. Accordingly, huge sums of amounts would be required to rescue the region from starvation, therefore, it is right time to invest on meteorological needs of the country to avoid any untoward situation ahead.

The sources said the World Bank has been working on the idea since last five years by carrying out a detailed working paper after consultation with all the stakeholders besides attaining input from the marine meteorology. The project had been delayed by the two former director generals of PMD and finally it is all set to be put in place now.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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