KEONJHAR, Aril 23: “As you sow, so shall you reap”- This is what the aged mass of the district opine about the unprecedented temperature going up this year. Keonjhar is one of the four places, which were recently announced as ‘Heat Island’, . The other three places are – Bhubaneswar, Jharsuguda and Talcher.
And they attribute this environmental phenomenon to blatant deforestation. While the mineral resources are excavated after cutting vast number of trees, the compensatory plantation hardly takes place, they alleged and added that with no trees on the top soil and only iron and manganese ores lying in the open, results in this high rise in temperature.
A Keonjhar-based historian and environmentalist Dr Bimbadhara Behera echoes with them. Apart from deforestation, rapid mining activities, transportation and construction also contribute in temperature rise, he pointed out.
“While earlier Titilagarh was the hottest place in the state, now four other regions including Keonjhar have earned the dubious distinction of the Heat Islands”, he said. If the situation prevails for long, the district would be the ‘Deserted Hot Island’, not just the ‘Hot Island’, he cautioned.
And the consequential effects of this soaring temperature are also very destructive, he noted.
He said, while once the district’s cold climate was conducive for tea and coffee plantation, now with changed climate, certain medicinal plants available only in Gandhmaradan Mountain are feared to disappear for ever. The environmental change may also have its bad impacts on fauna. Some animals and birds known to survive in cold climate would die, if such temperature rising continues for some more time, he warned.
And the worst problem is the scarcity of water, which is slowly felt here. It is learnt that ground water level have gone down to such a level that bore wells of about 200 feet depth draw no water this summer. It is also feared that the tributary rivers would also become dry.
The working capacity has also been badly affected, some opined.
Sources said, in Keonjhar, it is almost a curfew-like situation during the day time. From 11am the roads are devoid of any commuters. People choose to remain inside than venturing out. However, the vendors dealing with ice creams, sugar cane juice, water melon and sarbat have reasons to thank the Sun God, even as their business and profit go up with temperature rise.