City Buzz: ‘Declare heat wave national calamity’ | Why temperatures are rising … and more

In other news: Urban water crisis due to heat wave, Tier-2 and satellite cities as talent hubs and booming office market in South India.

Rajasthan HC: Declare heatwave a national calamity

There is a need to declare the current heat wave as a national calamity, said the single-judge Bench of Justice Anoop Kumar Dhand, Rajasthan High Court (HC), on May 30th. He took suo motu cognisance of the 61 people who have died due to the scorching heat. He added that heat waves and cold waves should be declared as national disasters, so that the state is prepared to deal with them.

The Bench asked the state government to compensate for deaths, sprinkle water on congested roads; provide cooling spaces, shades at traffic signals, drinking water, ORS/aam panna, and support to treat patients; issue an advisory for all those who work in the open and allow them to rest between noon and 3 pm during extreme heat wave conditions.

Although the ‘Heat Action Plan‘ was developed in the state with the Disaster Management and Relief Department and the Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board, it has not been implemented in “letter and spirit”, said the Bench.

Source: Indian Express, Business Standard


Read more: Scorched cities: Documenting the intense Indian summer of 2024 


Why temperatures are rising

Many cities gripped by the North and Central India heat wave, recorded temperatures of over or just under 50°C: Churu (50.5 °C), Sirsa (50.3 °C), Phalodi (50 °C), New Delhi, Narela, Mungeshpur and Najafgarh (49.9 °C), Pilani (49 °C) and Bikaner (48.2 °C).

Ten people died of suspected heatstroke in Odisha’s Rourkela. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) issued an orange alert for hot nights in 14 districts in Bihar, including Patna, Gaya, Aurangabad, Arwal, Sheikhpura and Rohtas.

The heat wave in the metropolitan cities, mostly in May, June and July, is mainly due to the urban heat-island effect that warms the cities more than their surroundings, due to human activities, buildings and infrastructure that absorb and retain heat. The El Nino effect is also responsible for the change in the global weather patterns.

The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) in a report titled Decoding the Urban Heat Stress among Indian cities, suggested that heat waves are becoming deadlier due to rising temperatures, increasing humidity and urban expansion. Cities are also not cooling down at night as they did during 2001-2010.

The study on six major cities—Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai and Bengaluru over 23 years (January 2001- April 2024)—found that while temperatures haven’t risen significantly in some cities, increased humidity is worsening heat stress that can lead to acute thermal discomfort and disease.

Emergency measures to protect public health can include improving green areas and waterbodies, improving thermal comfort and reducing waste heat from vehicles, air conditioners and industries. It is important to strengthen scientific monitoring of heat-related factors, such as land use and surface temperatures.

Source: Times of India, cnbctv, NDTV.Com, cseindia.org, Down To Earth

Water crisis due to heat wave

Access to water is becoming an issue in North Indian cities. A tanker driver said that the New Delhi Municipal Corporation sends five water tankers twice a day. The Delhi government moved the Supreme Court on May 31st, asking that Haryana should release the national capital’s share of water, as it is facing a crisis. Water Minister Atishi said that Delhi stares at an “emergency situation”. She announced setting up a central water tanker control room and deploying quick response teams across all 11 Delhi Jal Boards to tackle the water-related emergencies.

The Central Ground Water Department declares that two-thirds of Rajasthan’s blocks are drought-affected. About 23 of the state’s cities and towns face acute water shortage and 11 cities get water supply once in 96 hours and 12 in 72 hours. In Bhopal, the water levels of the upper lake have plummeted below the levels recorded last year.

Source: Indian Express, The Hindu, The Times of India, The New Indian Express, Free Press Journal

Tier-2 and satellite cities are talent hubs

An India’s Talent Feasibility report, by global consultancy KPMG, says that emerging dynamic talent hubs include cities such as Hyderabad, Navi Mumbai and Pune. It reveals the shifting employment landscape in cities, with Tier 2 and satellite cities getting prominence. Due to Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to promote the IT industry in non-Tier-1 spots, business development and overall growth has been enabled.

MindSpace campus in Hyderabad https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:MindSpace_campus_in_Hyderabad,_India.jpg
MindSpace campus testifies to Hyderabad’s dynamic talent. Pic: Wikipedia/peculiar 235

However, 70% of companies report high attrition in Tier-1 cities such as Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru, due to intense competition and higher career opportunities, the report revealed. But Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru continue to attract and have the highest concentration of talent from diverse sectors.

In 2023, the population of Indians between 18 and 35 years was more than 600 million, with about 65% being younger than 35. This demographic edge will remain till 2055-56, with a peak projected for 2041, when the working age population (18-60 years) will touch 59%.

This talented labour pool is expected to be an important part of regional and global talent and employers need to give attention to recruitment and educational trends. Corporate firms are called upon to follow mixed strategies of mass hiring in lower-cost cities and in-house upskilling.

Source: assets.kpmg.com, indiabriefing.com, moneycontrol.com, The Times of India


Read more: “Cities must give a lot more to informal workers they engage”: Public policy expert


South India’s office market is booming

The office market in South India is booming due to increased attention from multinationals (MNCs), especially the global capability centres (GCCs) and the information technology (IT) sector. The dynamic tech sector has GCCs driving office leasing activities, especially in Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

The joint share of Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai in the national annual net absorption remains between 54% and 56% in the last two years. A slight increase is expected by 2026, according to a report by a real estate management firm, JLL. The three cities have a share of more than 66% in the active request for proposals (RFPs) of 29-30 million square feet. They have accounted for about 65% of new Grade A supply in 2023.

India’s office leasing market is on a rising curve, especially in South India and in Bengaluru, which commands 55% of the active demand.

In Kerala, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram emerged as two of the fastest-growing Tier-2 cities.

Source: Business Standard

[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]

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