Kolkata Sizzles Under Heatwave as Political Tensions Rise

Kolkata Newes is battling a dual crisis this week: a scorching heatwave and escalating political tensions. The city, known for its vibrant culture and rich history, is facing record-breaking temperatures, with some districts categorized under a “red alert” by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).

Brutal Heatwave Grips the City

The IMD has issued a red alert for seven South Bengal districts, including Kolkata. Temperatures have soared past 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit), making life unbearable for residents. This unrelenting heatwave has put a strain on the city’s infrastructure, with reports of power cuts becoming increasingly common.

One resident, speaking to Anandabazar Patrika, lamented, “The power cuts are making it impossible to even stay cool indoors. CESC [the city’s power distribution company] staff took four hours just to find a broken cable after a complaint.” [1]

The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) is scrambling to ensure the safety of citizens. Special measures are being taken to keep police horses and dogs cool, highlighting the widespread impact of the heat. The KMC is also preparing a report for the Calcutta High Court regarding illegal construction in the city, aiming to improve ventilation and airflow.

Political violence flares up.

While the heatwave dominates weather reports, political tensions are simmering in Kolkata. A BJP worker, Saraswati Sarkar, was allegedly attacked by Trinamool Congress (TMC) goons while putting up posters in Kasba. The BJP has vehemently condemned the attack, accusing the TMC of political violence.

This incident comes amidst heightened political activity as the party gears up for the upcoming elections. BJP national president JP Nadda, addressing his first rally in Bengal, accused the TMC of wanting a “majboor” (helpless) government, one that is soft on terrorism. The TMC has refuted these claims, calling them baseless.

The death of a TMC worker in a clash with another faction in North 24 Parganas further underscores the volatile political climate. Thirteen people have been arrested in connection with the incident.

Public transportation impacts

The scorching heat and political campaigning are also impacting public transportation. School buses are being used for election campaigns, leading to a shortage of buses for daily commuters. This adds to the woes of residents already grappling with the heat and power cuts.

Hope on the Horizon?

Despite the current challenges, there are signs of hope. The Kolkata Metro is expediting construction work to extend its service to Behala Ghata, aiming to ease traffic congestion and provide a more comfortable travel option during the summer months.

The repair work on the Nivedita Bridge railway line, connecting Sealdah and Howrah divisions of the Eastern Railway, has also begun. This will improve railway connectivity within the city and surrounding areas.

In Conclusion

Kolkata is facing a period of immense strain. The heatwave is a stark reminder of the urgency of combating climate change, while political tensions threaten to disrupt daily life. However, the city’s spirit of resilience remains strong. From the KMC’s efforts to mitigate the heat’s impact to the ongoing infrastructure projects, there are initiatives underway to improve the situation.

Whether Kolkata can weather these storms and emerge stronger depends on the collective efforts of its citizens, authorities, and political parties. As the summer progresses, all eyes will be on the city to see how it navigates these challenges.

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