TALCHER:Depleting forest cover, thermal power plants and coal dust resulting from transportation of coal by heavy vehicles have added to the summer heat of the coal belt of Talcher.
The town recorded around 47 degree Celsius on Saturday, the highest for the season while on Sunday, it was a little cooler at 44.8 degrees. In the coal mining areas, the temperature remains four to five degrees higher than in other places, said mining officials.
Three power houses burn about one lakh tonne of coal in two NTPC plants and one Nalco power plant. The heat generated from these units is released into the air which in turn multiplies the temperature. The heat wave condition persists throughout the day as the coal mines release the absorbed heat in the evening. People in these areas virtually breathe hot air from 9 am to 11 pm as the air does not cool down even during the evening. Exposed coal seams and stocked coal absorb heat during the day and release it after sunset making lives hell for the people living in mining colonies.
Coal dust from coal mining areas and transportation of coal by heavy vehicles are the other manmade factors that add to the discomfort of the people during summers.
Environmentalist Bouri Bandhu Bez blames chopping of trees in the forests of Talcher over the years for the rising temperature.
Dense forest cover over hundreds of acres has been wiped out for coal mining and there has been no proportionate afforestation by the Forest department, he added. Talcher Sub Collector SM Mishra said he had written to the coal authorities to do the needful to combat heat. “We have also taken several measures to provide relief to the people in the summer,” he said.