Emergency situations call for emergency measures and several states like Bihar facing a killer heat wave have responded to the crisis with a slew of desperate initiatives including a ban on cooking and religious functions involving fire.
The unrelenting heat wave that has killed more than 170 people across the country have prompted Bihar to ban cooking in villages between 9am and 6pm. Officials in the state where at least 66 people and 1,200 animals have perished because of the heat, said violators will face jail term of up a year for violating the advisory issued under the National Disaster Management Act.
Over 1,000 fires in less than a month leading to 74 deaths and burning of 16,000 houses in the state triggered the advisory which also prohibits burning of wheat crop waste to avoid fire breakout that spreads fast because of the heat wave. Over 2,000 acres of wheat crop area was destroyed in fires. The average temperature in most parts of Bihar is hovering around 42 degrees Celsius with Patna and Bhagalpur recording 43.6 degrees Celsius on April 27. The problem of heat wave has been accentuated by westerlies but the state unlike most others is not under a spell of drought.
CM Nitish Kumar Monday ordered officials to issue an advisory instructing people to cook food before 9 am and after 6 pm and perform religious rituals like ‘havans’, before 9 am.
Meanwhile, the district administration of Gopalganj has set up an army of 70,000 volunteers to work as fire fighters.