Sambalpur sizzles at over 40 degree Celsius

With the temperature crossing the 40-degree-Celsius mark in March, normal life – over the last few days – has become unbearable here and the adjoining areas. The streets are empty in the afternoon as people prefer staying indoors to avoid the unbearable heat. Even as environmentalists warn of the drastic effects of climatic change, local people put a lot of the blame on the rampant depletion of forests and the mindless industrialization.
“Last year the maximum temperature was 46 degree Celsius in Sambalpur. But, keeping in view the present weather condition, we apprehend the temperature will go higher this year. The government machinery at various levels should educate the people on how to survive in such drastic weather conditions,” environmentalist Rusi Patra said on Monday. He also asked the people to save forest and plant more trees to fight the situation.
Sambalpur was earlier surrounded by three hillocks – Pati-jungle,  Brookshill and  Budharaja – and the greenery around the town acted as a protector of its environment. With the rapid growth of the area and the ensuing encroachment of land under forests, the greenery began to be lost.
“Nature has kind enough to the town by giving natural protection. But we are destroying our protection by cutting the trees on the hillocks. Brookshill has already been converted into a concrete jungle. Now, a part of the Budharaja has also been destroyed,”  social activist  Anil Padhi said. He appealed to the people to come forward to protect Budharaja and asked the government to take stringent steps against the illegal occupants of the hills.
On the other hand, people also held the government responsible for the deteriorating situation as thousands of acres of forest land in the district has been given to private companies for industrialization. “The government should ask these companies to create new forests in-lieu of the forest land in their use,” social activist  Ranjan Panda said.

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