The south west monsoon is likely to hit Odisha within a week, according to local meteorological centre forecast on Tuesday.
“The south west monsoon approaching Odisha has been slow but is likely to pick up pace in the next two to three days. We expect arrival of the monsoon in the state within a week,” said director of meteorological centre, Sarat Chandra Sahu. He said several places in the state have started receiving pre-monsoon showers and thunderstorms, leading to a drop in the temperature. The pre-monsoon showers will continue till the monsoon hits the state, Sahu said.
Nevertheless, large swathes of the state continued to battle the scorching heat, with Sambalpur recording the day’s highest temperature at 44.6 degree Celsius on Tuesday, followed by Jharsuguda (44.0 degree Celsius) and Sundergarh, Talcher and Angul (43.5 degree Celsius) and Hirakud (43.2 degree Celsius). Titlagarh sizzled at 42.5 degree Celsius, while Balangir and Sonepur burned at 42 degree Celsius. Bhubaneswar and Cuttack recorded 39.3 degree Celsius and 39.0 degree Celsius respectively.
However, with several places in the state receiving pre-monsoon showers, the government has speeded up preparations to help farmers for the khariff crop season. It has set a target of providing an estimated Rs 3,000 crore crop loan to 15 lakh farmers during the 2012 kharif season. Besides, the government has decided to disburse Rs 600 crore towards agricultural term loan during the 2012-13 financial year, said a government officer.
The crop loans would be available to farmer members of the Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies at an interest of 5%. If the farmers repay the outstanding dues on or before due date, they would be given a rebate of 2% on the interest, the officer added.
The sunstroke death toll confirmed by the state government, meanwhile, stood at 35, while unofficially the toll is said to be as high as 159.