Patna sizzles at 45.8 degrees celsius, highest in 10 years


Patna recorded its highest maximum temperature in the past 10 years at 45.8 degrees celsius on Saturday, the meteorological department here said.

Residents of the state capital singed under blistering heat wave condition, as the city’s maximum temperature was 9.2 degrees above normal, the Patna Meteorological Centre said.

The minimum temperature was 31 degrees celsius, 4.2 notches above normal for this time of the year.

Heat wave is declared when the maximum temperature is recorded above 4.5 degrees from its normal for two consecutive days, a Met official said.

According to a Met department bulletin, Gaya recorded 45.2 degrees celsius, Bhagalpur 41.5 degrees celsius and Purnea 35.9 degrees celsius.

The Met department has forecast heat wave conditions on Sunday as well in Patna, Gaya and Bhagalpur.

Meanwhile, the Bihar government on Saturday said all schools in the city will remain closed till June 19 in view of the prevailing weather condition.

Patna district magistrate Kumar Ravi said all government and private schools of Patna will remain shut till June 19, due to persisting heatwave-like condition for the past several days, an official release said.

A number of private schools were scheduled to open in the week starting June 17 after the summer vacation.

This is the second time the district administration has extended suspension of academic activities in schools due to the weather.

Earlier on June 9, the DM had ordered closure of schools till June 16.

Ranchi forest cover increased by 0.86%: Report


While the temperature in Capital city is touching 42 degree Celsius, a government report on forest area in Ranchi division shows an increase in the forest cover.

According to the latest Indian State of Forest Report (ISFR) published by Forest Survey of India in 2018, Ranchi increased its forest area by 10 sq km since 2015, the highest increase among all the districts in Jharkhand. This increase happened despite rapid urbanisation and development in the city. The Pioneer contacted environmentalists and government officials on the issue ahead of World Environment Day.

“As the data shows, the city’s forest area has increased in the last few years. It is the result of a targeted approach of the Ranchi Forest Division, where we have different management policies for different kinds of forests,” said Sushil Oraon, Assistant Conservator of Forest, Ranchi Forest Division. As per the report, Ranchi currently has 63 sq. km of ‘Very Dense Forest’, 364 sq. km of ‘Moderately Dense Forest’, and 737 sq. km of ‘Open Forest’.

“We focus on the maintenance and improvement of dense forests, and try to increase density of the moderately dense forests so that they are promoted to the dense forest category. For open forests, we push for afforestation, so that the overall forest cover increases,” Oraon said. He said that the Pollution Board is organising an event on Wednesday to mark World Environment Day.

An initiative was undertaken recently by the Ranchi Smart City Corporation (RSCC) along with Jharkhand Urban Infrastructure Development Company Limited (JUIDCO) and Larson and Toubro (L&T) on Sunday, where officials from the three companies planted a lot of saplings to compensate for the various ongoing projects across the State.

However, environmentalists have continued to show concern over the matter. Environmentalist Nitish Priyadarshi raised the issue of the environmental concerns of the loss of trees due to rapid construction work in the city.

He also stressed on the impossibility of recovering lost forests. “We cannot create forests. We can plant trees, but forests are natural that develop over a long period of time,” he said. “Also, planting trees is easy, but protecting and caring for them requires commitment. Instead of just planting trees and forgetting about it, the government should have a long term policy, so that the planted trees are cared for when they begin to grow in two three years. Planting trees is just a formality if the there is no follow-up,” he added.

Priyadarshi, who teaches Geology at Ranchi University, dismissed the government data and pointed out the evident ill-effects of deforestation. “The increase in temperature, the water crisis, the man-animal conflicts in neighbouring areas are all results of this increasing loss of forests.” He suggested many ways to combat the problem. “Public awareness, strict government policy, cultivation of barren land are all beneficial steps,” he said. “We can also follow the example of the sacred forests of Meghalaya, where nothing is allowed to leave the forest groves due to the religious beliefs of the indigenous cultures.”

Onset of monsoon in Jharkhand likely by June 18


Jharkhand may expect the arrival of monsoon by June 18 as the southwest monsoon is likely to hit Kerala by June 8, weather officials said on Wednesday. Normal monsoon date for Jharkhand is June 10 and it should cover the state by June 15. However, it has never hit Jharkhand on the expected date since 2009.

The onset of monsoon in the state has been recorded between June 15 to June 25 in past one decade. In 2018, the southwest monsoon had hit Jharkhand on June 25, a delay of 15 days from its expected date, while it had hit Kerala on May 29, three days ahead of its normal date.

“Conditions are favourable for onset of monsoon in Kerala on Friday. If climatic conditions remain favourable with its current pattern, we may expect monsoon rain by June 17-18. However, it could be predicted only after it hits Kerala,” said SD Kotal, director of Ranchi Meteorological Centre. Even though the monsoon has been delayed by a week in India, a cyclonic circulation, which was over Jharkhand till Tuesday, brought relief from scorching heat across the state for last couple of days. Weather department said that excluding Palamu, maximum temperature was likely to get below 40 degree Celsius in most districts of the state.

The long-range forecast for monsoon, however, has worried farmers, as it has predicted 91% rainfall with possible deviation of 4% from June 1 to September 30 in northeast and eastern India.

“It’s a long-range forecast for the four-month monsoon, which may change after the onset,” Kotal said.

Farmers already faced drought in last kharif season due to deficient rainfall in last monsoon. In 2018, Jharkhand recorded 28% rainfall deficit during four-month monsoon period from June 1 to September 30, poorer than Bihar and West Bengal, which registered 25% and 20% deficit respectively.

The deficient rainfall impacted kharif crop in Jharkhand. The state government in November last year declared 129 blocks out of 264 blocks as drought affected. As many as 93 blocks were declared severely affected by drought due to poor sowing during rainy season last year.

Around 27% arable paddy land of the total target remained fallow. Of the 24 districts, sowing coverage could not reach 60% in seven districts even after the end of sowing season on August 15.

The centre released Rs 272 crore as drought relief to Jharkhand but the farmers are yet to get crop loss compensation. The poor monsoon had also impacted Rabi crops last year. Sowing coverage of Rabi crops was recorded in merely 7.58 hectares of land against the target of 11.69 lakh hectares this year.