By Simanchal Pattanaik
Phulbani, Apr 30:
The alarming rise in day temperature this summer in Kandhamal, considered to have been among the coldest regions in Odisha, is worrying the local people and environmentalists alike.
While the district’s highest temperature during summer had always remained below 40 degree Celsius, the temperature this year has gone past the 40 degree mark in the month of April, and is expected to rise even further in May.
Green activists have attributed this abnormal rise in temperature mostly to the massive loss of green cover in the district. They allege that a unholy nexus between Forest officials and the timber mafia has resulted in the large scale and unbridled tree felling which in turn has led to a rapid loss of forest cover in the district.
They also point a finger at the Forest department for not taking adequate steps to prevent forest fires in several areas of the district, another cause of the rise in day temperature.
However, environmentalists believe, other than the loss of green cover, factors like teh sudden spurt in construction activities leading to proliferation in concrete structures and black-top roads, drying up of hill streams as well as global weather phenomena like El Nino have also contributed to the rising mercury levels despite the fact that there is not a single industry in this hilly district with large tracts of forested areas.
Whatever be the reasons, people across Kandhamal have reason to worry about the perceptible change in their climate which now oscillates between extreme temperature levels- from less than 4 degree Celsius in winter to 40 plus in summer.