Berhampur (Orissa), Jun 6 (PTI) Kandhamal, popularly known as ”Kashmir of Orissa” for its cool climate, is reeling under intense heat with the mercury touching 40 degree Celsius, MeT officials said. 60 per cent area under forest cover, 1587 mm average annual rainfall and altitude ranging between 300 and 1100 metres contributed towards the coolness of the district, however, most parts of Kandhamal are reeling under 40 deg C temperature since the beginning of June, they said.
Environmentalists and weathermen attributed the rising temperature to global warming. “Effect of global warming and climate change could have led to rise in temperature in many areas of the state including Kandhamal,” P C Mohanty, a marine science expert, said.
“We have analysed the temperature data of the last six years in different parts of the state and observed that the minimum temperature in most places except Puri increased from the 1990s,” he said. Apart from global warming, there are several other factors responsible for rise in temperature in Kandhamal.
These included increase of population, automobile emission and shrinking of forest cover, a senior forest officer said. Deforestation is the main cause of rise in temperature in the district, an environmentalist said.
Deforestation was caused due to various factors including felling of trees by agitators to use for road blockades, smuggling of timbers and cleaning forest by tribals to get forest rights. Of the total 8021 sq km area in the district, 5709.08 sq km are under forest cover.