IMD Celebrates 150 Years: Why Is Its Pune Office Known As 'Simla Office'?

IMD Celebrates 150 Years: Why Is Its Pune Office Known As 'Simla Office'?

In 1928, Pune was selected as the headquarters for the IMD owing to its favorable climatic conditions and proximity to the west coast

Aakash SinghUpdated: Monday, January 15, 2024, 12:08 PM IST
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IMD Celebrates 150 Years: Why Is Its Pune Office Known As 'Simla Office'? | X/@aparanjape

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) celebrated its 150th anniversary on Monday. Established in Kolkata on January 15, 1875, it initially had only one person, HF Blanford, serving as the Imperial Meteorological Reporter. Blanford's role was to systematically study India's climate and meteorology, using the knowledge for weather forecasting and cyclone warnings.

The department expanded its scope over the years, incorporating seismological measurements in 1877 and extending the port warning system to cover all Indian ports by 1886, enhancing maritime safety. In 1890, IMD took on the role of the Rainfall Registration Authority, standardising rain measurement through the adoption of a common rain gauge type.

In 1904, the headquarters were moved to Shimla (originally Simla). However, due to limitations posed by the weather, the British government decided to relocate the headquarters to the plains. Pune was chosen for its favourable climatic conditions and proximity to the west coast, prompting the shift to the suburb of Bhamburda (Shivajinagar) in 1928. Despite the move, it is colloquially known as the 'Simla office.'

The heritage building, designed by Messrs Stevens and Partners and built by Pallonjee and Sons, features a clock tower with weather-monitoring devices, a Baroque relief sculpture on a false pediment, an image of Flora, the Roman goddess of spring and flowers on the facade, and the cage of the first-ever lift installed in Pune, along with antique woodwork.

In 1944, the headquarters was relocated to Delhi. However, Pune retained significance as a center for the IMD. Almost six years ago, it was recognised as the Regional Climate Centre for South Asia. Under this designation, the department issues seasonal climate outlooks, monthly and seasonal El Nino and Indian Ocean Dipole status bulletins, and prepares consensus monsoon forecasts for South Asia.

Additionally, Pune plays a crucial role in training researchers, validating meteorological equipment, and guiding agro-meteorology.

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