Proposal to map out the heavy rainfall area of Cherrapunjee
Cherrapunjee Holiday Resort is a venture by a husband and wife team, Denis P.Rayen, the husband hailing from Tamil Nadu in Southern India and Mrs. Carmela Shati, the wife hailing from Laitkynsew, a village near Cherrapunjee. The project has been taken up as a development initiative by Mr. & Mrs. Denis P.Rayen, to promote tourism in and around Cherrapunjee with and for the benefit of the people of the area. The task was taken with a very small capital of their own and funds raised from Banks as Term Loans, from friends and relatives as Fixed Deposits and credit from suppliers.
With the grassroots up approach, the Living Root Bridges of the area that have become an international attraction, interesting and enjoyable walks and treks, natural swimming pools at the bottom of the valley, baths in waterfalls, cold mountain springs and streams, camping out in winter, campfires, cultural evenings presented by young local boys and girls, lots of interesting information about the rainiest place on Planet Earth and the culture of Khasis have been tastefully combined to create relaxing, exotic ethnic nature holiday to many people from around the world. The quality of our clientele is high with people with good education and high professional achievements. So we keep ourselves on our toes for filling their holidays with interesting and in-depth information about the place, the people, the environment, the flora and fauna. This seeking of knowledge keeps the work very challenging and interesting for us too.
It has been in our minds that there is virtually no data or information about the entire heavy rainfall zone in and around Cherrapunjee. The only reliable data is that of the India Meteorological Observatory at Cherrapunjee. The reliability of the rainfall data of Mawsynram as collected by the State Public Works Department is in serious question. (I have seen with my own eyes that the chowkidar of Mawsynram PWD was measuring rainfall with a milliliter-measuring beaker instead of the appropriate millimeter beaker. I had reported the matter to the then Director, Seismological Observatory at Shillong and the beaker was got replaced thereafter. PWD Pynursla had reported more than the annual rainfall of Cherrapunjee in one month. Pynursla is on a range parallel to Cherrapunjee to the East. The Section Head of the Department was confirming my doubts by telling, “Who told you to take our data seriously? It is meant for us. When we have to justify expenditure, we hike up the rainfall.” When we want to give our international clientele real scientific information about the place, such nonsense cannot be passed off as scientific truths.
It is our desire that Cherrapunjee being the highest rainfall receiving area in the world, it deserves that the heavy rainfall area of Cherrapunjee that is estimated to cover 100 to 200 square kilometer should be mapped out properly by proper scientific recording of the rainfall. It is proposed here that if we can train local people to collect and record rainfall and send the rainwater collected in sealed bottles for verification of the accuracy of measurement at a centralized location for two or three years, an idea will be gained to restrict the number of observatory stations for the subsequent two or three years. This will help us to collect and study valuable scientific meteorological data for this extreme weather area and map out the same.
As people who have established local rapport, it will be feasible for us to create a network of dedicated people of the area, which will help the world meteorological community at large to understand better this extreme rainfall area. If the idea is found worth pursuing, we would be needing help to acquire manual rainfall gauges, self-recording rainfall gauges, to train the personnel and to keep them paid during the period of experiment. We look forward to Research establishments around the world that may help us in the endeavour for the benefit of the research community at large. Anyone wanting to participate in the above experiment may mail to us at [email protected] or [email protected] .
The meteorological observatory at Cherrapunjee was established first by the British at a place called Saitsohpen in Lower Cherrapunjee, where the then British local government was able to acquire land. It is expected that the rainfall should be highest along the slopes immediate to the top. But for availability reasons, the observatory could not be located at the ideal location. Subsequently, when India Meteorological Department took over the measurement, proximity to the police station for the security apprehensive staff from other states of India and the need to be around the area of earlier collection of rainfall for reasons of relevancy of the accumulated data of previous years took primacy. The proposed short-term survey of three to five years should be able to overcome these handicaps. We are not basically meteorological people, but are common people egged by the desire to acquire more relevant scientific information about the place for the benefit of the tourists and researchers from all the corners of the world.
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