Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Killing rays of the Sun extinguished at least 300 human lives in Orissa by June 15, 05 in the current summer. As many as 40 persons have reportedly died within last 50 hours even as 128 sunstroke persons are admitted in hospitals all over the state. The entire population is under the syndrome of dog days.
Presence of forests has failed to control heat waves. So also the Sea.
Paradeep on the coastline suffered from 44 degree Celsius where as Goplapur on Sea had 35 on June 15. Puri was 34 and Balasore 37. From this it may be inferred that presence of polluting industries like OSWAL at Paradeep has contributed to high-rise in mercury in the port city, where as other places on the coastline were below 40. That industrial pollution has been adding to solar heat is proved by the fact that the northern and western track of Orissa is under grip of high temperature. Mercury refused to come below 48 degree Celsius at Talcher, 46 at Angul, 48 at Titilagarh, 46 at Jharsuguda and 42 at Keonjhar.
Cuttack crossed 43, when at Bhubaneswar, the decline in temperature has not gone below 44.2.
The state Government’s deplorable failure in supplying drinking water to the population has left the whole State in an unprecedented dependence on the unknown.
How the official functionaries have looted money in the name of water provision in the rural belt and left the poor inhabitants under the mercy of elements can be seen from one example to start with.
One of the worst hit districts is Nuapada. In 2000, a highly propagated project to provide 91 Panchayats of this district with perennial water reservoirs was launched there with lot of fan fare. A sum of Rs. 7 crores was pumped into the project styled as ‘Mahabandha’ project. Mahabandha means a massive water reservoir. Visit the district now. You won’t get a drop of water in any of these Mahabandhas. No Mahabandha would come to your gaze even.
Officers-contractors combine has looted most of the money; say 90% in the minimum.
Nuapada belongs to the unfortunate KBK area. The chief Administrator of KBK is sitting at Bhubaneswar, successful as he is in getting other assignments in addition to KBK. He has never inspected any of these Mahabandhas. Had he really supervised KBK administration, such a situation might never have arisen.
People of this district are not getting any water to use in toilet, what to speak of other essentials. Therefore they are dying dehydrated notwithstanding what other reason the government doctors may contrive. All the districts away from the Capital City have their own experience of woe almost similar to that of Nuapada.
The government, absolutely unable to tackle the menace, has been trumpeting hope that once the monsoon arrives, the problem would be solved. But the weather calculators are failing. S.C.Sahu, Director of Indian Meteorological Department, Orissa, had forecasted that by June 10, Orissa should have regular monsoon. Now he backtracks. “The monsoon is so pulsatory that it is not easy to say for sure when should it arrive”, he says.
Scorching Sun in the sky and heightened lootraj in the State have sandwiched the people of Orissa like never before. No body knows when to get a reprieve.