Large swathes of India continued to sizzle on Friday under an unrelenting heat wave that claimed over 150 lives in the past two weeks and triggered acute water scarcity in several states.
Titlagarh town in western Odisha recorded the season’s highest temperature of 47°C and Ramagundam in Telangana registered 46.1°C. Nizamabad was the second hottest place in the state with mercury soaring to 45.1°C.
Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh sweated it out under 44°C, while it was 43.4°C in Kurnool and 42.1°C in the temple town of Tirupati.
Around 90 people have died in the two states in the past fortnight. The meteorology centre in Hyderabad held out little hope of an early reprieve for Telangana, saying temperatures will continue to hover between 40°C and 45°C until April 25.
The forecast for Odisha, where at least 66 people have died due to the searing heat, was ominous too. “Heat wave conditions are likely to prevail mainly over interior and one or two places at coastal Odisha at least till April 25. The weather will mostly be dry,” said SC Sahu, director of IMD’s Bhubaneswar centre.
Temperatures have soared over the 40°C mark from Rajasthan to gangetic Bengal and from Punjab to TN. Water levels at several reservoirs are running at low levels, threatening to hurt power generation services.
The heat has sparked fierce wars over water in cities ranging from Ranchi to Nagpur. Authorities are rationing water, employing tankers and bolstering security personnel strength. The Centre also approved assistance of Rs 842.7 crore for Karnataka, Puducherry and Arunachal Pradesh.
The situation is grim in the parched regions of Bundelkhand and Malwa regions of Madhya Pradesh. Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said funds had been released to all districts to transport water to the affected areas. The situation is also dire in Maharashta’s Marathwada region that is facing its third successive drought with huge water trains ferrying water to the parched Latur region.
However, Met officials in Maharashtra said heat wave in central and southern parts of the state had subsided. “Neither the Arabian Sea nor the Bay of Bengal are providing any kind of moisture over the state to control the land heating. While eastern parts of the country are under a heat wave, the severe hot conditions in Maharashtra have subsided,” said Biswajit Mukhopadhyay at the India Meteorological Department.
(With Inputs from Hyderabad/Mumbai/Bhubaneswar/Bhopal)