The season’s first spell of heatwave has been ruthless aided and abetted by erratic power supply and an administration in slow-motion. The mercury level soared with day temperature on Wednesday crossing the 40-degree Celsius mark in at least 15 districts. Titlagarh recorded 45.
The State Government woke up late to the power crisis and convened a meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, to take stock of the preparedness. The weather office, meanwhile, issued a heatwave warning for the next 48 hours across most parts of the State.
Western, central and northern Odisha districts reeled under the heatwave as mercury soared past 43 degree C in most places. Titlagarh recorded 45 degree C, Sambalpur sizzled at 44.5 and Sonepur at 44. Balangir, Kalahandi and Jharsuguda in the west, interior districts such as Angul, Dhenkanal and northern districts like Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar recorded 42 degree C on the day. Phulbani, considered Odisha’s Kashmir, recorded a maximum temperature of 40.6 degree.
Coastal Odisha was not spared of the misery either. Bhubaneswar registered 42.6 degree while Cuttack recorded six degrees above normal.
“There is conspicuous absence of easterly wind for the last couple of days whereas the north western wind has been consistent in raising the surface temperature. The see breeze, which cools down the City (capital), was weak, blowing at a speed of 1 knot to 2 knots,” Director, India Meteorological Department, Odisha, Sarat Chandra Sahu said.
Although a trough line existed over coastal Odisha, it was lying closer to the surface and unable to gather enough moisture from the atmosphere to trigger thunder squalls. Unbearable conditions apart, the shoddy power supply in the City has made life intolerable for the denizens. Low voltage and frequent breakdowns have been reported in most parts of the Capital for more than a fortnight. Even on Wednesday, people complained of frequent load shedding and power surge during most parts of the day and the evening hours.
At the meeting, the Chief Minister directed the Energy department to ensure transformers are repaired immediately. The Health and Family Welfare department was asked to stock ORS in hospitals and take preventive measures to check sunstroke.