Koraput reels under blistering heat

Koraput: The scorching heat sizzling Odisha for the last several days has not even spared Koraput, known as one of the coolest places in the state. The tribal-dominated district, noted for its dense forest, mountainous terrains and natural beauty, has virtually turned into a boiling cauldron.

Jeypore, the district`s biggest business centre, recorded around 42 degree Celsius temperature on Friday, while the mercury hovered around 40 degree Celsius at the district headquarter town of Koraput.

While roads in urban Jeypore, Koraput, Kotpad and Sunabeda wore a deserted look during the day with most people choosing to remain indoors, high humidity and a strong hot air flow made people sweat and suffer in places like Laxmipur, Pottangi, Semiliguda and Nandapur, which are considered "cooler" spots.

"For the last few days the heat is unbearable. The humidity persists till 6 pm in the evening thus forcing the denizens to remain indoor. I have never experienced such hot weather at Koraput in last few years," said Dibakar Hontal, a Jeypore resident.

According to reports, suspected sun stroke-related cases are pouring into hospitals. Officials said hordes of patients suffering from dehydration were admitted at various hospitals in the district.

The tribal villages of Boipariguda, Kundra, Laxmipur, Dasmantpur and Pottangi blocks are facing acute shortage of drinking water as most of the natural water bodies have dried up and water-levels in wells and tubewells have dropped. The sudden heat wave has caught the administration off guard.

"Most of the peripheral hospitals lack coolers and ice bag facilities to treat patients. The district administration has made no effort to set up temporary rest sheds and drinking water facilities like jal chatras at different points along roads," said Bhabani Mishra, a Koraput based activist.

Officials at the district emergency centre, however, said though the soaring temperature in the last few days have impacted normal life, no sun-stroke deaths have been reported in the district so far.

Additional district magistrate Pabitra Mandal said, ?Concerned departments have been asked to repair the defunct water bodies across the district and medical staff instructed to remain alert to treat sun-stroke cases. The situation is under control and no sun-stroke death has been recorded in the district so far, he said.