Soaring heat dries up ponds, waterfalls in JharkhandApril 19th, 2010 - 12:00 pm ICT by IANS
By Nityanand Shukla
Ranchi, April 19 (IANS) The soaring mercury and accompanying heat wave in Jharkhand is drying up the water sources, including waterfalls, in many parts of the state. Not only humans but animals too are withering under the sun’s intense heat.
The mercury touched 47 degrees Celsius in Deoghar and Palamau districts, while in Bokaro, Dhanbad, Jamshedpur and in other parts it crossed 45 degrees. In state capital Ranchi, the mercury touched 41.6 degrees.
Two waterfalls, Johna and Sita, situated 60 km from Ranchi, have dried up this summer. Thousands of tourists would come to see the waterfalls situated amid lush green landscape with the jungle and mountains forming the backdrop.
The Gautam Dhara river flowing under the Johna waterfall has also dried up. The river, named after Lord Buddha who is said to have meditated here for a long period, would offer refreshing relief to tourists.
“For the first time I have seen both the waterfalls and the river drying up. Earlier, there were instances when the water level would go down in the month of May, but this year both the waterfalls have dried up in the second week of April,” said Rajendra Mahto, a Jharkhand Tourism official.
The dried up waterfalls is also posing a threat to the survival of hundreds of families who are dependent on tourists. Many of these families are being forced to migrate in search of livelihood.
“We have started looking for alternative sources of income. Our business is nil this year because tourists are not coming to see the waterfalls as they have dried up,” said Shankar Mahto, who owns a shop near Johna Fall.
Other waterfalls like the Dasam and Hundru situated on the outskirts of Ranchi are facing a similar situation.
Experts say that large-scale deforestation coupled with pollution has caused changes in the climate. The deforestation has led to uneven rainfall in Ranchi and other parts of the state. Ranchi would get rainfall during the winter, which is not taking place for the last two to three years.
The Johna Fall is also known for the delicious jamun or berry trees growing near it. Villagers would make money selling the jamun to train passengers at the Gautam Dhara station. Many of the jamun trees have been chopped off in the area, Mahto alleged.
“The state government and the people are responsible for the change in the climate of Ranchi. Thousands of trees have been chopped to widen the roads and construct multi-storeyed buildings. No re-plantation has taken place to maintain the ecology. No efforts were made to maintain the water level of the ponds and dams, and now they are drying up and leading to water scarcity. Deforestation has caused uneven rainfall in Ranchi,” said environmentalist Nitish Priyadarshi.
According to an official of the water resources department, besides waterfalls, Ranchi has nearly half a dozen ponds and three dams, the water level of which has also depleted by two to three metres.
According to an official, the Koel river in Palamau has almost dried up and the water level of the Ganga river in Sahebganj district has also depleted.
(Nityanand Shukla can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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Tags: celsius, deoghar, dries, gautam, heat wave, intense heat, jamshedpur, jharkhand tourism, livelihood, lord buddha, outskirts, rainfall, shankar, shukla, summer thousands, tourism official, water level, water sources, waterfall, waterfalls