Experts call for action against those involved in the Doppler Radar System controversy

Thursday, June 02, 2016

By Tharushan Fernando


Experts say that stringent measures should be taken against those who were involved in incurring massive losses to the country when installing a dysfunctional Doppler Radar System.

While a committee had launched Investigations into the in-operational status of the system in 2014, the investigation report revealed that the installation of the system had been carried out in a haphazard manner.

Allocations amounting to 400 million rupees were made to procure a Doppler Radar System for the country in order to improve and issue weather forecasts in a more timely manner.

However, the tax payers money has been spent in vain, as the installed Doppler system has not been operational since it was set up.

Considering the situation, in 2014, a 5 member committee appointed in 2014 to consider shortcomings at the Department of Meteorology, had its mandate extended to make inquiries into the dysfunctional Doppler Radar System.

The committee comprising Deputy Minister Duleep Wijeysekera, S. Wirithamulla, E. Wijeypala, L.S.B. Karunaratne and U. Wilson, submitted a report highlighting several shortcomings in the process of setting up the Doppler Radar System.

The Doppler Radar System was procured from the American corporation Enterprise Electronics with the intervention of the World Meteorological Organisation, after the full amount was paid.

However, the World Meteorological Organisation had noted that the corporation had gone bankrupt in 2014.

The committee report contains information on problems that were encountered while the parts of radar system were being transported to the peak of the Gongala mountain.

Noting that a daily log had not been maintained in the process of setting up the radar system, the report also notes that the entire procedure was extremely haphazard.

While some of the parts were transported to the peak via a crane, due to the narrowness of the road, the crane had toppled damaging some of the equipment.

While it had been decided prior to the incident to use a helicopter to transport parts to the peak of the mountain, that decision had been later reversed, as Sri Lanka did not possess a helicopter with the required capabilities.

The Committee points out that none of the senior officials at the institution had contacted or sought the support of the Sri Lanka Air Force to secure an alternative mode of transport for the equipment.

While the committee report expresses faith that the radar system can be made operational with the assistance of the World Meteorological Organisation, this faith is yet to be translated into action.

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