Extreme weather predicted during Lok Sabha polls preparation in advance crucial Rijiju

    New Delhi, Apr 1 (PTI) India is predicted to experience extreme weather this year, starting at the end of April and coinciding with the general elections, making it crucial for all stakeholders to prepare in advance, according to Union Minister for Earth Sciences Kiren Rijiju.
    "We are expecting extreme weather conditions in the upcoming months. This also aligns with the general elections, where around a billion people are expected to vote," the minister said at a press conference on Monday.
    Rijiju emphasised the importance of careful planning, especially after the second and third phases of the polls.
    "All stakeholders, including state governments, have made elaborate preparations. Since India faces extreme weather conditions as the most populous country in the world, it is necessary for us to prepare in advance," he said.
    Scientists attribute the increase in extreme weather events, including heatwaves, heavy rainfall, droughts and floods, to human-made climate change. These events are predicted to worsen as global average temperatures continue to rise due to the burning of fossil fuels.
    Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, Director General of Meteorology, India Meteorological Department, said the anticipated increase in outdoor activities during the 2024 general elections, which will take place in seven phases between April 19 and June 1, could heighten public vulnerability to heatwaves.
    With greater exposure, there's an elevated risk of heatwave-related health issues among the electorate and staff, he said.
    The government has adopted an integrated approach, involving the ministries of Jal Shakti, agriculture, health and power, to prepare for the extreme heat, he said.
    National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) member Kamal Kishore stressed the need for long-term solutions to address the increasing vulnerability of geographical areas to heatwaves, including constructing resilient buildings.
    Mohapatra said the NDMA convened a meeting with technical institutions and experts on January 9 to review the lessons learned from last year's extreme weather events.
    In February and March, the NDMA and the Ministry of Earth Sciences conducted annual workshops with officials from heatwave-prone states and union territories, focusing on key sectors such as health, water, agriculture, railways and civil society, to prepare for the upcoming challenges.

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)