Chandigarh: School timings changed as heatwave persists - Hindustan Times
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Chandigarh: School timings changed as heatwave persists

By, Chandigarh
May 20, 2024 08:44 AM IST

Issuing a letter to principals of all government and private schools in Chandigarh, the education department has asked them to wind up by 12 pm from Monday; for this, schools can start classes earlier, but not before 7 am

The city continued to reel under heatwave conditions for the third consecutive day on Sunday as mercury shot up to 44.2°C.

Women take cover under dupattas amid the searing heat in Chandigarh. (Ravi Kumar/HT)
Women take cover under dupattas amid the searing heat in Chandigarh. (Ravi Kumar/HT)

With relief unlikely this week, as per the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the UT education department curtailed school timings till 12 pm from Monday, and advised other measures to protect schoolchildren and staff from the searing heat.

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Issuing a letter to principals of all government and private schools in Chandigarh, the department has asked them to wind up by 12 pm from Monday. For this, schools can start classes earlier, but not before 7 am.

During school hours, principals have been asked to avoid morning assembly and other special programmes in the open.

Sports and other outdoor activities must also be avoided, and schools must ensure that all fans in classrooms are functional. Curtains should be used to keep sunlight out of classrooms.

In a novel initiative, schools have also been asked to ring water bells at 8.30 am, 10 am and 11 am to remind students and teachers to drink water. Additionally, students have been advised to carry their own water bottles. Schools have been asked to be prepared to tackle mild cases of heatstroke. Meals served under the PM Poshan scheme should be checked for spoilage by heat.

At government schools, there will be no classes up to Class 2 in evening shift. Efforts should be made to adjust students of Classes 3, 4 and 5 in the morning shift. Online classes can also be conducted for them in the morning.

Summer vacations in government schools will be declared on May 23. Some private schools will be announcing holidays from May 24.

Mercury may cross 45°C by May 22

The maximum temperature rose from 43.7°C on Saturday to 44.2°C on Sunday, 5.3 degrees above normal. As per IMD, heatwave conditions are declared when the maximum temperature crosses 40°C and goes over 4.5 degrees above normal.

Speaking about the heatwave, IMD Chandigarh director AK Singh said, “Relief seems unlikely for now. The temperature will continue along similar lines and may even can cross 45°C by May 22. Only a change in wind pattern or some rain can make a difference. Western Disturbances (WD) are also not effective enough currently.”

IMD has issued an orange alert for heatwave for the next five days, asking people to stay alert and be prepared. The IMD warning system works five days at a time, so it’s likely to be extended thereafter. A red alert has been issued in other parts of the region, including southern and western Punjab, and Haryana, where the maximum temperature has gone up as high as 47°C.

The minimum temperature changed slightly from 26°C on Saturday to 26.6°C on Sunday, 1.5 degree above normal.

The heat is on: IMD advises caution

Stay indoors in well-ventilated and cool areas to avoid direct exposure to heat

Regular hydration is a must, even if not thirsty

Use ORS and home-made drinks, like lassi, rice water, lemonade and buttermilk, to stay hydrated

People who are exposed to the sun for a prolonged period or are engaged in heavy work are likely to experience heat illness symptoms. Therefore, heat exposure must be avoided

A close watch must be kept on infants, elderly individuals, outdoor workers and those with chronic health conditions

Pay special attention to not leave anyone, especially children or pets, in a closed, parked vehicle

Even when inside, block sunlight by keeping windows and curtains closed during the day, especially on the sunny side of the building. Open windows only at night to allow circulation of cooler air.

Power demand soars to 358 MW

With the mercury touching 44°C, Chandigarh’s power demand has increased from 280 megawatts (MW) to 358 MW in the past one week. Last summer, it had peaked at 426 MW.

Catering to around 2.40 lakh power consumers, Chandigarh receives 345 MW power during the summer months of April to September. The Union ministry of power, on UT’s request, has already approved an additional 200 MW, taking the total to 545 MW, to help the city sail through the summer surge.

A senior UT official said the additional allocation will help provide uninterrupted electricity supply to residents throughout summer. The power department staff had also been sensitised to ensure normal supply, the official added.

Besides, the city has also started receiving an additional 30 MW power from a Gujarat-based government agency on a regular basis as part of an agreement.

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