‘Poor man’s Ooty’ sizzles

As of latest weather statistics, the maximum temperature in Hassan has shot up to 38.6 degrees Celsius. Fearing sunburns, many residents are avoiding stepping out in the hot afternoons.

Those who have been living in the city for decades now feel that Hassan has lost the title of ‘poor man’s Ooty’ that it once enjoyed.

Back in the day

“When I was in my 20s,” recalls Vishweshwaraiah (73), “one would rarely witness the temperature go up like this.” Mr. Vishweshwaraiah, a shopkeeper on Salagame Road, stays put in his house or shop between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. everyday. “If I step out for even half-an-hour in the scorching sun, I have to take at least two hours of rest when I return,” he said. Like him, many have rescheduled their daily routines to work around the increasing temperature.

Too hot to ride

Two-wheeler riders have more difficulty this year as wearing helmets has become mandatory now.

Ateek-Ur-Rahman, a resident of K.R. Puram, said, “I bought a helmet with air vents for Rs. 1,800 after the new rule came into effect. However, I feel suffocated when I wear it. The vents do not help much given the present temperature,” he said.

No more tanks

Till the early part of this century, Hassan city was surrounded by three major tanks – Channapatna, Satyamangala and Hunasinkere.

The Channapatna tank does not exist now as a new KSRTC bus stand has come up in its place. Layouts have come up in localities close to Satyamangala and Hunasinakere, reducing their water storage capacity. As a result, the groundwater table has depleted.

“I don’t know, whether it was because of the tanks or not, but the Hassan was definitely cooler when all three tanks were full,” recalls Parameshwarappa, a resident of Vidya Nagar.

Rescued by refreshments

In the last one week, many juice stalls have come up in the city. There is an increase in demand for tender coconut and sugarcane juice, other than watermelon.

A few small-time businessmen have set up stalls providing buttermilk to pedestrians in the afternoons free of cost. “The tender coconut has a huge demand these days. It is the best to fight dehydration. Many students, preparing for their annual examinations, prefer tender coconut water to bottled cool drinks,” says Vishwanath, a tender coconut vendor. Every day, Vishwanath sells at least 300 tender coconuts. The raising temperature in Hassan is not different from the districts in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region of the State.

“Let us also raise a demand for morning working hours, just as it is being followed in the Hyderabad-Karnataka districts,” opines Mahanthesh K., a State government employee, adding that Hassan does not deserve to have the ‘Malnad district’ tag anymore.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 6:49:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/poor-mans-ooty-sizzles/article8368724.ece

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