As Kerala reports very high temperatures, several districts of the state are parched, with water reaching many villages once in 12 days. And it’s only March, with the hot months yet to begin in a year that the met department says could be the warmest ever.
Water supplied by the government used to reach few panchayats in rural Thiruvananthapuram thrice a week till last month. But in the last one month, there has been supply only once in 12 days. The Oommen Chandy government has set up helplines across the district, but says it can make few interventions now with the model code of conduct in place for state elections to be held in May.
“We started additional water distribution in Kollam and were stopped by the Election Commission, saying we were violating the model code of conduct. In fact, politicians have been asked to step back and only government officials are doing the work,” said Chief Minister Chandy, adding that the government is planning to go to court to be allowed to help the people.
“We will take this issue up legally because it’s unacceptable that we can’t do anything while people are finding it difficult to get drinking water,” the chief minister said.
62-year-old Chelamma, a daily wage labourer, said she fainted twice this month while working in the fields. “No drinking water, no electricity, I have even fainted. Things are very difficult, we dont even get water supply,” she said in her village, only 27 km away from state capital Thiruvananthapuram.
The Met Department says districts like Kannur, Palakkad and Kozhikode have recorded the highest-ever temperature in March and 2016 may well be the warmest year ever, more than 2015 even set a new record. Very little rain has made it worse.
“2016 may turn out to be the warmest year in the history for India. This severe heat is expected to continue till June because of the El Nino effect. In Kerala, humidity is also on rhe rise. The aftermath could be reduction in reservoir levels, ground water depletion, severe heat,” said K Santhosh, IMD Regional Director for Kerala.