The Rangpur Meteorological Office still gives forecasts based on the information from the head office. That information does not match in time. Although the radar of Rangpur Meteorological Office became useless almost a decade ago, it has not been repaired or a new radar has been installed so far.
Natural disasters are now on the rise in the region due to climate change. Farmers have to deal with various natural calamities including heavy rains, droughts, intense heat, untimely Nor'wester and hailstorms. As a result, the farmers of this region are suffering every year. The agrarian-dependent local economy is also in crisis.
According to the concerned sources, the Meteorological and Earthquake Observatory was set up under the Bangladesh Meteorological Department at Masterpara area of College Road in Rangpur city in the financial year 1977-7. Radar was installed here in 1999 at a cost of Tk 100 crore with funding from the Japanese government. The lifespan of the radar was 10 years. However, the error was caught in 2007. With the efforts of local engineers, it was finally possible to keep the radar active till 2012. Sources further said that the government has passed a bill to install modern radar in Rangpur. The radar was to be replaced with a grant of about Tk 120 crore from Japan. However, after the assassination of Japanese Kunio Hoshi at Alutari in Kaunia upazila of Rangpur on October 3, 2015, the country's engineers did not come to Rangpur anymore. Since then, the weather forecast has been given here by coordinating the information of the head office in Dhaka.
Farmers in Rangpur said that on February 25 this year, there was a sudden hailstorm in Rangpur division. In this, all the trees die due to accumulation of water in the rising alukshet. But they could have picked up the seed potatoes if they had received advance information about the hailstorm. The amount of damage would have been less. Khalilur Rahman, a resident of Sankardaha Char in Gangachara upazila, said, "It used to rain in the rainy season. We used to cultivate different crops keeping that thought in mind. But now the weather is like this, there is no time to make any preparations. Abu Reza Md. Taufiqul Islam said that natural disasters have increased due to climate change. So it is time to launch a service called 'Climate Service'. Through this service, every person including farmers will be able to take steps in disaster management by knowing about the weather for a week.
Mostafizur Rahman, engineer in charge of the Rangpur Meteorological Office, said a new Doppler radar would be installed in Rangpur. Radar work is going on in Gazipur Meteorological Office.
The work of installing radar at Rangpur center is expected to start by the end of this year or early next year. With the installation of radar, information on various disasters including cloud condition, cloud movement, temperature, rainfall, earthquakes and major floods will be available at the right time.