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Kerala heading for drought?

March 17, 2016 16:13 IST

With mercury level soaring, Kerala is likely to face drought-like situation amid fears of drinking water scarcity and power crisis in the poll-bound state as water bodies are fast drying up.

The rising temperatures are also a cause of concern for probable candidates of political parties as they would have to sweat it out literally during the nearly two-month long campaign period. Assembly elections are to be held in Kerala on May 16.

Though the southern state experiences summer season from March-May, this year the temperature level recorded is higher than normal in many places at the very onset of the season.

Adding to the woes, weather experts have forecast summer heat likely to go up in the coming days.

According to weather statistics, Kerala registers a normal maximum temperature of 34.2 degrees Celsius in March, 34.1 in April and 32.9 in May.

The temperature, this year, is two degrees above normal compared to the same period in the previous years, Indian Meteorological Department Regional Director K Santhosh, said.

"The temperature recorded is higher than normal in many parts of the state this time. It is at least two degrees above normal in many parts. It is likely to go up in many districts in the coming days," he added.

As per the Meteorological Centre figures, northern district of Palakkad, known for severe summer and high humidity, recorded 39.1 degree Celsius temperature followed by Kannur district at 37.4 degree Celsius on Thursday.

Kozhikode (37 degree Celsius) , Vellanikkara (36.4 C) and Punalur (36.2 C) also recorded higher atmospheric temperature on Saturday.

Santhosh said the state had started receiving summer showers since March 12 and it is expected to give some respite.

With mercury level rising, drinking water scarcity is already being experienced in many parts of the state as not only water bodies but even public water supply sources are fast drying up. Water in wells in homesteads and public places has hit rock bottom in many rural areas.

Load-shedding is also likely on the cards in the state as water in major hydel reservoirs is fast depleting due to the scorching heat.

According to Kerala State Electricity Board sources, the water level in Idukki dam, considered to be Asia's biggest arch dam with a 555 ft height, is 2342.86 feet today which was 2361.9 feet the same day last year.

A couple of cases of sunstroke had been experienced in many parts of the state in the last two weeks. In view of the incidents, authorities have warned people from working under the sun in the afternoon.

There is also concern about the increasing incidents of man-animal conflicts in the forest fringes due to the high influx of wild animals, especially herds of elephants in search of water and food in the human inhabited areas.

The scorching heat and high humidity is also expected to dampen the election campaign in the state which is used to witness high voltage rallies and public meetings during poll period.

Many senior leaders including former defence minister and Congress leader A K Antony have already expressed concern about the summer heat affecting the poll preparations and campaigns.

Political parties are yet to finalise their candidates for the polls and campaigning is yet to begin.

With the summer likely to be very intense, it would be tough times ahead for the nominees of various political parties.

Photograph: Reuters

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