Soaring mercury creates crisis situation in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram, April 10 (IANS) The mercury has been soaring high in Kerala with the maximum temperature touching 41 degrees Celsius in Palakkad district, close to its highest ever recorded temperature of 41.7 degrees in 1987.

The blistering heat has created almost a crisis situation in Kerala, as for most of its water requirements the state depends on dams where water level is fast receding.

“I will tour the state in the coming weeks to have a first-hand account of the situation. Money is not going to be an issue to deal with drought,” Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told the assembly during an adjournment motion on the issue Wednesday.

Chandy added that people have been reportedly suffering from sunstroke.

“This is a warning for all of us. We have to take steps to see that the environment is protected, if not we will be facing severe hardships,” he said.

Leader of Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan of the CPI-M demanded that each of the 14 districts in the state be given an immediate assistance of Rs.50 crore to tackle the drought-like situation.

State Labour Minister Shibu Baby John said that in view of the rising temperature, all those who work in open would be given off time from work between 12 and 3 p.m. till April 30.

“Those violating the order would face action,” John added.

In the past three days, half a dozen cases of sunstroke have been reported in the state.

“The heat is getting trapped in the atmosphere causing rise in temperature. Several parts of the state received rainfall last (Tuesday) night and we expect more rains in the next two days and by end of this month. This is likely to bring down temperatures,” said K. Santhosh, director of the weather Office here.

The schools in the state are closed for summer vacation.

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