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Akola — Under a Heatwave: Section 144 Implemented amid Temperatures Over 45 Degrees Celsius

This Maharashtra City Imposes Section 144 Amid Heatwave Alert, Temperature Exceeds 45 Degrees Celsius

Amid scorching temperatures that soared beyond 45 degrees Celsius, Akola, a city in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region, finds itself grappling with intense heatwaves. The city has recently recorded some of the highest temperatures of the season, with mercury levels hitting a stifling 45.8 degrees Celsius on one day and slightly lower at 45.6 degrees Celsius the following day. This upsurge in temperature has prompted local authorities to take unprecedented measures to safeguard residents against the unforgiving heat.

In a decisive move, Ajit Kumbhar, the Collector of Akola, has enacted Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), effective until the end of May. This legal instrument is typically reserved for situations deemed to pose a significant risk to public order, but its application in this context underscores the severity of the heatwave’s potential impact on public health and safety.

Under the stipulated directives, local establishments are now mandated to ensure the provision of essential amenities such as sufficient drinking water and fans for their workers. The order pays special attention to the schedules of private coaching classes, recommending adjustments to prevent gatherings during the peak heat hours of the afternoon. The aim is to mitigate the risk of heat stroke among the city’s population, particularly those who are most vulnerable to high temperatures.

The responsibilities of businesses, especially those within the industrial sector, have been explicitly outlined. Establishments are required to ensure that their employees are not exposed to the sun during their duties, with additional provisions for the construction of adequate shade, the installation of cooling devices, and the availability of first aid. The guidelines are particularly stringent for coaching centers, which are advised to operate only before 10 am and after 5 pm to avoid the hottest parts of the day. For those that choose to remain open, there is an imperative to provide cooling mechanisms to protect students from the heat.

This period of extreme heat is not isolated to Akola but spans much of the Vidarbha region, with temperatures consistently cresting above 44 degrees Celsius. Such conditions are not unprecedented for Akola, which has previously faced similar, if not more severe, heatwaves. In a notable instance back in 2020, the city’s temperatures reached a dizzying 47.4 degrees Celsius, marking it as one of the hottest cities in India at the time.

The current measures are a testament to the seriousness with which local authorities are addressing the issue of rising temperatures and their impact on public health. By enforcing preventive measures and adapting to the extreme weather conditions, Akola is setting a precedent for how cities can respond to the challenges posed by climate change and heatwaves. As the region braces itself for the possibility of continued high temperatures, the focus remains on ensuring the safety and well-being of all residents amidst these challenging conditions.

Ethan Wilder

Ethan Wilder is a conservation photographer and videographer whose lens captures the awe-inspiring beauty of the natural world and the critical challenges it faces. With a focus on wilderness preservation and animal rights, Ethan's work is a poignant reminder of what is at stake. His photo essays and narratives delve into the heart of environmental issues, combining stunning visuals with compelling storytelling. Ethan offers a unique perspective on the role of art in activism, inviting readers to witness the planet's wonders and advocating for their protection.

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