BHUBANESWAR: Has Bhubaneswar turned into a heat island? The blistering heat wave points at a scary scenario as the Capital City has emerged the hottest place in the State in the last one week and the forecast remains grim.
With no scientific explanation offered for Bhubaneswar’s heating up process as yet, experts blame it on the unplanned growth of the City and the fast disappearance of the heat absorbers.
While 2015 was the warmest year since 1880, and 2016 could get warmer, experts believe climate change and global warming alone can not be blamed for the staggering conditions that the City is facing today.
Professor UC Mohanty of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bhubaneswar, says the urban expansion of the Capital is a major reason for the heating up process. “Global climate is not the only factor, one needs to look at the micro climate change process too. The land use pattern as well as forest cover are very important factors,” he said.
He points out that there are very few water bodies and dedicated green patches in the Capital which absorb heat.
Adding to the problem is the fast removal of green belt as the Government has been pushing infrastructure in a big way in and around the City. The Capital, which has been designated Smart City status, has been on an expansion spree. While the city-planners have given much thrust to expanding roads, building flyovers and housing and commercial projects, little thought has been given to recreate green pockets.
What has added to the woes is the vast expanse of fringe area - which once had vegetation - turning into a concrete jungle with massive amount of construction activities being undertaken for implementation of real estate projects. Be it towards Puri, Khurda or Cuttack, the expansion has been rampant and mindless, to say the least.
“Bhubaneswar and its outskirts were once full of marshy areas which acted as the sponge, absorbing the heat and keeping the city cooler. All such areas are now taken up for real estate projects. Such activities have also made conditions favourable for the unprecedented heat,” says urban governance activist Piyush Rout.
Experts also point out that the dry river beds which have been happy haunting ground of the sand mafia and decreasing water flow are other reasons which have aided the gruelling conditions in the City.
While the inability of the growing concrete mass to absorb heat has added to the problem, a multi-fold increase in vehicular population could also be a reason for Bhubaneswar heating up so unpredictably.