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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Non-payment of salaries prompts 'no advisory to farmers' agitation

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<br>This is an extreme step they have decided after multiple meetings – successful and unsuccessful – in Delhi on May 25 yielded no results for them.

Weather advisories are increasingly important due to the growing uncertainties in the weather and climate in recent years that pose a major threat to food productivity and food security of the country. An early warning makes the risk management easier.

Along with the bi-weekly bulletins, daily weather forecast and now cast information are also disseminated to the farmers by regional and state meteorological centres of the IMD.

The DAMU personnel shot off a warning letter to the Indian Council for Agricultural Research, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Director General (Meteorology), IMD, and other related officials.

"We the DAMU employees across India would like to humbly intimate you that inspite of several representations and intimations from our end regarding the ongoing pending salary issues since 12-14 months and non-release of fund during FY 21-22 and FY 22-23 no assurance has been given from your good end," the letter read.

As part of the joint project by the IACR and the IMD, these DAMU are situated within the Krishi Vikas Kendra premises and send out detailed agro-met advisories to 43.6 lakh farmers across 27 states every Tuesdays and Thursdays. Two people each are managing the 200-odd DAMUs have been facing a pay crunch for almost a year now, a problem the Ministry of Earth Sciences had in March said would be resolved from April.

The scientists and observers upload information from their respective districts to a designated portal by the IMD after which the advisory is generated in a standard pro-forma in multiple languages according to the states. That is downloaded as a PDF document and sent to these lakhs of farmers, each associated with one of the 200-odd DAMUs.

"We don’t want to harm the farmers’ interest due to our protest agitation. Therefore, what we have decided is that we will not upload the information from our end on to the IMD portal but instead, send a gist of the advisory directly as a text to the farmers," said one of the many scientists that Ajit Weekly News spoke with.

Almost 50 per cent of the DAMU scientists and observers have agreed to not send the regular advisory, another of the protestors said.

Earlier on May 25, 12 persons from eight states had gathered in Delhi and jointly met ICAR ADG, Extension, A.K. Singh, and OSD to Agriculture Minister, Arun Kumar but could not meet the IMD DG or Earth Sciences Secretary.

Talking to Ajit Weekly News, an observer had said, "The Ministry also aims to establish 530 more DAMUs, if they don’t have funds for us, how are they going to pay others?"

Calls and text messages to senior officials in the Ministry and IMD DG went unanswered.

(Nivedita Khandekar can be reached at [email protected] )

–Ajit Weekly News<br>niv/vd

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