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India drought: Bihar state bans daytime cooking

India drought Bihar state bans daytime cooking pardesi news 1462350801

Daytime cooking banned in Bihar after extreme heat claims around 300 lives across the country

India is struggling with the worse summer in recent years resulting in a water shortage throughout the country, the heat wave has claimed over 300 lives in the month of March-April in India. Much of country is reeling under a weeks-long heat wave and severe drought conditions that have decimated crops, killed livestock and affected most states- many of them left without enough water for their daily needs. The temperatures were 4-5 degrees more than usual for the month of April.

The local governments are scrambling to address rising death tolls and dwindling water supplies. Towns on India’s eastern side have been hit with record-setting temperatures — 119.3 degrees in the town of Titlagarh, Orissa, which is the highest temperature ever recorded in that state during April.  Bihar was hit by accidental fires worsened by dry, hot and windy weather swept through villages with thatched-roof houses and killed around 80 people.

The eastern state Bihar took the unprecedented step of forbidding cooking during the day in order to avoid such accidents in the future. Officials have decided villages in the Bihar state between 9am and 6pm during the summer months and those who violated the order could be jailed for up to two years to avoid accidental fires. People were instead asked to cook at night. Anyone who challenges the ban may face a jail term of up to a year.

The burning of spent crops and religious fire rituals has also been put on hold during the summer season. The moves have been criticized by the opposition for being brash and not a viable remedy for the issue.  

With still weeks to go before monsoon reaches the drought hit areas, officials expect this ban to be the fastest solution for the issue.

"We call this the fire season in Bihar," a state-disaster management official said. "Strong, westerly winds stoke fires which spread easily and cause great damage". 

Severe drought conditions have also been reported in India, which has killed livestock, destroyed crops, and has left at least 330 million Indians without enough for their basic daily needs.

For two consecutive years, India has suffered from a deadly heat wave, last year India has experienced the fifth-deadliest heat wave ever recorded. This year, people are eagerly waiting for the monsoon to arrive and provide the much-needed respite. 

About the author

Patrick Callahan

Pardesi News Reporter

Pardesi News Reporter

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