Chennai: The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) ambient air quality monitoring station in Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras is off line. The continuous monitoring station, which disconnected from central server ever since the non-validated information went viral when wrongly showing dangerous concentration of Particulate Matter (PM2.5) in IIT-M campus causing major embarrassment, is unable to return to functional mode as the systems, communication lines and instruments suffered major damage during recent Chennai floods.
With Pongal fast approaching and Bhogi day being one of the most polluting events, the CPCB is making efforts to address the issue. The IIT-M monitoring station was set up by CPCB in 2008 under Public Private Partnership (PPP). Private partner Environmental SA India Pvt Ltd is expected to supply, commission and maintain the station.
Now, it is said that the key instrument – sensor – that measures PM2.5, got corrupt beyond repair and according to the contract the private company has to replace the instruments in such case.
Incidentally, the contract lapses this month end before which the monitoring station should be readied to satisfactory levels. Sources in IIT-M told DC that instruments were affected by high moisture and the flow path of the sampling tubes and sensors were contaminated due to internal oxidation and high voltage fluctuations.
CPCB officials also pointed out that erratic power supply is a major concern. However, Karunakaran, senior technical officer, CPCB, said the instruments are in working condition, but the computer systems which have a host of software and programmes got infected.
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