Northern, western and central India reeled under an intense heat wave, with a tourist from Andhra Pradesh falling prey to it at Agra's Taj Mahal and three Jain pilgrims dying while climbing a hill to reach a shrine in Gujarat’s Bhavnagar district on Sunday.
Most places in these regions saw the maximum temperatures staying above 40 degrees Celsius, with no immediate relief predicted by meteorological department officials.
The heat wave, which hit several states since the middle of last week, has not only threatened to bring about an acute water scarcity in many states but bodes ill for crops as armers cannot water them often enough.
The hottest places in the three regions were Haryana’s Hisar where the mercury rose to 47 degrees (6 degrees above normal) on Sunday, Rajasthan’s Dholpur (46.6), Maharasthtra’s Wardha (47) and Uttar Pradeshs Jhansi (46.3), Madhya Pradeshs Khajuraho (46.2) between Wednesday Sunday.
In Rajasthan, where temperatures have been in the region of 44-46 degrees, the met department in Jaipur said the heat would increase in the coming days. Department director S.S. Singh said, “In May and June, the temperatures can go up to 47 to 48 degrees. The heat and dusty winds will continue for some more months.”
In Lucknow, a senior met official attributed the high temperatures to the clear sky and westerly winds.
“Because of the absence of clouding, the sun’s rays fall directly on the earth, resulting in heating. Also, the Westerly winds from Rajasthan and Afghanistan are bringing in heat leading to soaring temperatures,” said J.P. Gupta, director, Met department.
In Mumbai, municipal commissioner Swadhin Kshatriya said, “It is the worst situation in more than 100 years. The lake levels in Mumbai were never so low and wells have reached the lowest drawable levels at two places. We are exploring other sources such as borewells and have imposed water cuts. The city has enough water till July 15, but if the monsoon gets delayed, there could be problems.”