Bhubaneswar: With the mercury crossing 43 degrees Celsius in many parts of Odisha, the state government Saturday ordered the closure of all government and private schools from May 1.

“Examinations are over in all schools and morning classes are being held now. All schools will break for summer vacation from May 1. The colleges will break for summer vacation May 9,” special relief commissioner P.K. Mohapatra told reporters.

As many as 17 stations Saturday recorded temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius and above.

Seven stations crossed the 43 degrees Celsius mark.

These were Hirakud (43.8 degrees), the state’s highest of the day, followed by Bhawanipatna (43.5 degrees), Titlagarh (43.5 degrees), Sambalpur (43.4 degrees), Talcher (43.3 degrees), Angul (43.1 degrees) and Bolangir (43.1 degrees).

State chief secretary J.K. Mohapatra Saturday reviewed the situation and the preparedness of various government departments at a meeting held at the secretariat.

Weather officials said the heat wave situation was likely to continue till May 3.

People have been advised to take precautionary measures and protect themselves from the heat.

No non-air-conditioned buses will be allowed to ply from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., especially during the peak heat hours. All bus operators have been told to keep ready first-aid boxes and drinking water in their vehicles.

Instructions have been issued to both government and private organisations not to carry out any outdoor activities and engage any workers during noon.

Special arrangements for treatment of heat-stroke patients have been made in all hospitals.

Dedicated heat-stroke treatment rooms have been arranged with air-conditioning or cooling facilities in medical colleges in Bhubaneswar and various district headquarters.

Many roads were deserted as people preferred to stay indoors. There were reports of power cuts and water scarcity from interior parts of the state. Even in Bhubaneswar, there were frequent outages in some areas.

Source: IANS