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The Rising Heat Wave in India is a Serious Concern

by Vijay Garg
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Heat waves have become a major concern for India this year. The scorching summer heat has started prematurely, as per the recent IMD reports. India will face hotter weather over the coming months, stoking concern about a repeat of the intense heat wave last year that risks damaging crops and further straining the country’s power network.
The weather office expects an enhanced probability of heat waves in most parts of the country during the three months ending May 31, according to IMD. If the record temperatures of the recent past are any indication, the heat wave is likely to become more intense. Rising temperatures lead to several health problems, from dehydration and heat exhaustion to more severe conditions like heatstroke. They also affect the economy and the environment.
An early onset of hot weather has already pushed electricity demand to near-record levels and led to the farm ministry setting up a panel to monitor the impact on the wheat crop, which is expected to reach a record this year. Last year, India suffered its hottest March in more than a century, scorching the grain harvest and forcing the government to curb exports. Monthly average maximum temperatures across the country were the highest for February since 1901, according to the weather office. Temperatures in March – crucial for the wheat crop which is at a vulnerable stage – are likely to be above normal in most parts except in the peninsular region. Prolonged heat could cut India’s wheat production for a second straight year, hurting efforts to control local food costs. India is the second-biggest producer, just after China. Lower output may lead to a continuation of export curbs, keeping the global market tight.
India has experienced some of the hottest summers on record in recent years. In May 2016, Phalodi in Rajasthan registered 51 degrees Celsius, the highest temperature ever recorded in the country. In 2021, India saw its hottest day on May 22, with the temperature touching 48 degrees Celsius in Barmer, also in Rajasthan. In 2022, Jaipur experienced a severe heatwave. Rajasthan’s capital recorded 45 degrees Celsius in April – a record for the city for the month. Delhi, Agra, Pilani and Rohtak are among the well-known hot cities in India, where temperatures, of late, have gone up to 43 degrees Celsius in early summer.
India is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. More extreme weather events such as heat waves, heavy flooding and severe drought kill thousands every year and increase economic hardships by eroding farm productivity. At the same time, it burdens the country’s energy supplies by pushing demand for fossil fuels and drying up sources of hydropower. The impact of heat waves on human health is also significant. Heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke, are becoming more common, particularly among vulnerable groups such as the elderly, children, and outdoor workers. In addition, heat waves can exacerbate existing health problems, such as respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. The healthcare costs associated with heat-related illnesses can be significant, particularly for vulnerable groups who may not have access to affordable healthcare. In addition, heat waves can lead to a decrease in worker productivity, which can impact economic growth.
The rising heat wave in India is a serious concern that needs to be addressed urgently. With the right strategies in place, it is possible to mitigate the impact of rising temperatures and ensure a sustainable future for the country.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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