Daily Archives: May 29, 2012

Rain relief for sweltering city

With rising mercury wrecking havoc in most parts of Odisha, a sudden spell of rain accompanied by gusty wind brought mild respite to residents of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack on Monday.

People were caught unaware when the gusty wind swept many areas around 5pm. Traffic was badly hit in Bapuji Nagar area after an electric pole got uprooted by strong wind.

Sources said rain also lashed some parts of Kendrapada district. Local meteorological department officials said the rainfall was not measurable as many areas in Bhubaneswar did not experience rainfall at all. “Intense heat wave will continue in some parts for the next 48 hours,” said Sarat Sahoo, director of local met office.

Hirakud recorded the highest temperature with 46.1 degree Celsius while places like Malkangiri, Titlagarh, Jharsuguda, Balangir, Sonepur, Sundargarh and Sambalpur singed with over 45 degree Celsius.

While government said that the blistering heat has so far sniffed out twenty lives in different parts, unofficial figure indicated the toll at 80.

Meteorology projects in schools a non-starter

Meteorological instrument worth lakhs of rupees are lying defunct in different schools across the state, thanks to the indifference and apathy of the state government.

In a bid to collect real time data of different regions, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has installed various observatories in 530 schools in all the districts of the state except Malkangiri, Deogarh and Sambalpur under the Participation of Youth in Real-Time Observation to Benefit Education (PROBE) scheme.

Under the scheme, school students would collect data based on meteorological observations for understanding day-to-day environment including weather. The students would collect data on the maximum and minimum temperature daily, along with relative humidity, rainfall if any, the sunshine hours along with the time of sunrise and sunset. This data would then be recorded in specially designed log books for computing.

However, after the project was completed in 2011, the observatories are virtually rotting as neither schools authorities nor students are taking any interest in these. “It was the duty of science teachers to train the students in collecting data on a daily basis, but once the project period was over, not many took interest, barring some schools where headmasters and science teachers have been enthusiastic about training the students entirely on their own,” said an official of Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).

The centres are provided with a rain gauge, an anemometer and a Stevenson’s Screen -instrument found in any weather office. The Stevenson’s Screen is a combination ofinstruments like hygrometer which measures humidity, thermometer to measure the maximum and minimum temperatures and a sunshine recorder.

“It was an extra work given to teachers after completing the routine works. But we are not given any honorarium for it. The data generated can be collected and used for disaster-mitigation purposes but no enthusiasm on part of the state government was shown after the project was closed,” a science teacher said on condition of anonymity, .explaining the reason for teachers not showing interest in the project.

Heat fails to dampen Sital Sashti revelry

The scorching heat failed to deter the enthusiasm of more than one lakh people, who thronged to seep in the festive joy during the climax of Sital Sasthi Yatra, here on Sunday. This western Odisha town recorded 46.3 degree Celsius, while the minimum temperature was 30.1 degree Celsius, higher than Saturday’s 27 degree Celsius.

The revellers took part in the procession during which the divine couple go around the town in decorated chariots. The wedding ceremony of Loknath Baba of Jhaduapara, Balunkeswar Baba of Nandapara, Jageswar Baba of Modipara and Sitaleswar Baba of Badabazar got over on Saturday morning. Then the puja committees started the procession from Saturday night. This went on till Sunday afternoon. The carnival ended with the deities returning to their respective temples.

This year dancers from across the country took part in the procession. The folk artistes from Rajasthan, Punjab, Assam and Chhattisgarh added a lot of colour to the festival. There was a dash of glamour with the album and record dancers making their presence felt during the carnival.

“We invited folk dancers from different part of the country to make the festival more attractive. We have also paid special attention to the dress code of the dancers,” said Amulya Mishra, president of the joint coordination committee of the yatra.

Elaborate police arrangements had been made to curb any untoward incident. Voluntary organizations distributed water and food to people at different places to counter the heat wave. They also sprinkled water on the streets. “Although the summer heat was unbearable, we took part in the festival because of the love and affection of the people”, a dancer from Chhattisgarh said.