Two persons each managing the 200-odd District Agromet Units (DAMUs) — for enhanced, accurate and timely forecast for the farmers across India — have been facing pay crunch for the last few months, a problem which will be resolved from this April, the Ministry of Earth Sciences said on Thursday.
Feedback from the ground, from some states where these DAMUs are, has shown that these personnel have regularly faced delays in salary, sometimes up to six or more months. “Tell us, how are we to run our household in these difficult circumstances if we don’t get paid on time,” said one such personnel on conditions of anonymity.
Another person from another state said, “We could have understood the delay happening once or twice. But this has been happening regularly and sometimes, it is even more than six months.”
IMD pays money to the ICAR to run these DAMUs, which in turn appoints and pays those personnel, said a senior scientist from the IMD and added, “It is a project-based work and not a regular appointment, hence the problem.”
A joint secretary level official from the Ministry of Earth Sciences said, the Ministry is seized of the matter and things would be resolved. “We assure that people will be getting salaries on time from April onwards,” he said.
The District Agromet Units (DAMUs) are established in the premises of Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) by India Meteorological Department (IMD) in collaboration with the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR). These supplement and complement the existing network of 130 Agromet Field Units (AMFUs), co-located with State Agricultural Universities (SAUs), institutes of ICAR, Indian Institute of Technology etc.
The Ministry also aims to establish 530 more DAMUs.
There have been growing uncertainties of weather and climate in recent years that pose a major threat to food productivity and food security of the country. An informed decision making in agricultural risk management is possible only when the farmers have advance information.
For agriculture and horticulture practices, a whole lot of factors can be controlled, but never the weather factor. However, farmers and scientists have believed that adequate warning time can ensure minimum loss with mitigation measures.
“Hence, accurate and timely weather information along with proper interpretation thereof implying the agricultural significance of the forecast/nowcast; issuing advisories for farm operations; and disseminating all relevant information well in advance about the impending weather is vital,” said an IMD official.
Along with the biweekly bulletins, daily weather forecast and nowcast information are also disseminated to the farmers by Regional and State Meteorological centres of IMD.
Now, these 200-odd District Agromet Units (DAMUs) providing agro-meteorological services to the farmers – DAMUs, as they are popularly called – have an expert agro-meteorologist and an agro-meteorologist.
(Nivedita Khandekar can be reached at email@example.com)