Once again heat wave conditions have returned to Jammu after a small respite given by evening showers a few days back. The dry weather indicating rising in temperature even at night time has left the city residents high and dry. The city recorded a high of 39.6 degrees Celsius, 0.6 degrees above normal on Monday and the minimum was recorded at 27.2 degrees Celsius, 2.5 notches above normal during this part of the season according to MeT officials. Even the Trikuta Hills where Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine in Reasi District is situated too has high temperature and has the credibility of the second hottest recorded place in Jammu province. The Shrine is visited by lakhs every year and with summer vacations on the pilgrims’ rush is going to increase which will add to the problem of drinking water more. The rising mercury has added to the woes of residents in some areas with people staging protest and this time even the residents of railway colony blocked railway track as they were not getting drinking water. Wanton urbanisation, lessening of green cover and unchecked concretisation has furthered the agony of common man. There is no doubt that summers bring all added agonies in terms of water, power supply which government has been promising to provide uninterrupted, remain elusive for the common man. The rising temperature phenomena is not a local one only. Most of the hilly areas are undergoing scorching heat conditions which used to be once prerogative of Gangetic plains only. From Jammu and Kashmir in the west, to Arunachal Pradesh in the east, India is blessed with an almost 2,500km-long Himalayan Range with varying biodiversity in sync with altitudes. This includes Ladakh and parts of Himachal Pradesh (Lahaul and Spiti) that fall in the trans-Himalayan region as well as eight countries – Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Tibet (under Chinese occupation), Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar – dependent on and facing similar problems due to the rising temperature. Climate change is understood to be one of the most serious global environmental challenges facing humanity with implications on primary sectors such as agriculture, horticulture, fisheries and natural ecosystems.
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