Geologists are Geologists, NOT Astrologers !
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Geologists are Geologists, NOT Astrologers !

August 11, 2019

Was the warning of rain and widespread destruction in Kodagu region meant to be ignored?


This refers to the letter titled “Geologists must stop acting like Astrologers” (Star of Mysore dated July 3, 2019) by Prof. Yadupathi Putty of Krishnamurthypuram. The correspondent was so sure that the disaster in Kodagu region will not be repeated in two successive years as the probability of these phenomena is rare.

He had commented on a news report concerning the possible recurrence of excess rainfall and landslides in Kodagu published in SOM dated April 25, 2019 under the title “Will rain havoc repeat in Kodagu this year?” that carried the views of Retired Deputy Director-General of Geological Survey of India (GSI), Dr. H.S.M. Prakash.

The correspondent had stated in his letter and I quote, “It is unfortunate that the Geological Survey of India (GSI) has come out with this untimely prediction which goes to put the easily vulnerable common man’s mind placed further precariously. Such predictions, which turn out to be wrong more often than not, only create an impression of insecurity among people and go to make them feel that the land is no more a safe place to live in.”

I would like to ask Prof. Yadupathi Putty, what happened now? How come there is so much rain and widespread destruction in Kodagu region suddenly? Was the warning really meant to be ignored?

Kodagu is being devastated by floods and landslides, like last year and sadly, seven lives have been lost. And Geologists were right in predicting the recurrence of the natural disaster. The prediction was made so that the Administration will be on alert to rescue people from disaster.

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I think it is not right to blame the Geologists as per one’s whims and fancies. Moreover, the prediction has come true. Blaming the Geologists is like shooting the Messenger.

GSI had issued the warning for monsoon of 2019 which is generally 3 months starting June till September 2019 that there could be heavy rainfall which will trigger landslides in Kodagu region and had warned the State to be prepared for the same.

Before pointing fingers at GSI and asking them not to ‘behave like astrologers’ (I feel calling them astrologers is an insult to Geologist community as Geologists are Geologists only), people must understand that Geological Survey of India has a legacy of more than 200 years and must be respected.

I agree that calamities cannot be pin-pointed always to the most accurate level and with precision but should be considered as Ballpark Estimate (a very rough approximation) based on evidences and not merely statistics. If that were the case so, then everyone should be able to gamble in cricket game and make fortune just based on statistical predictions.

In conclusion, I would like to say Geology illustrates the past, sustains the present and promotes the future.

– Mrinmoy Chakraborty, Geologist, Mysuru, 10.8.2019

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