| Vehicles move cautiously down Mahatma Gandhi Marg on a foggy Thursday morning in Bhubaneswar. Picture by Sanjib Mukherjee |
Bhubaneswar, Jan. 31: Dense fog enveloped large parts of the city once again this morning, disrupting traffic movement and throwing life out of gear.
Sources at the local meteorological centre said visibility was as low as 50 metres.
“Such poor visibility makes it difficult to spot anything, even at short distances,” said a Met official.
The situation is not likely to improve even on Friday morning, with Met officials predicting a possibility of dense fog again.
“The condition is likely to prevail for the next 48 hours,” said the Met official.
Most people who had to set out of their houses early in the morning, found the fog particularly annoying.
Rashmiprava Parida, a homemaker from Pokhariput, said: “The dense fog causes a lot of problem for students who have morning classes. Taking our kids to school this morning was a tough task as visibility was very poor.”
Hemant Samal, a resident of Bhubaneswar who works for a Cuttack-based private organisation, reached office late this morning.
“It takes me around 40 minutes to reach Cuttack. But today, because of the dense fog, I found it very difficult to drive. I was unable to spot vehicles even a few metres away and was forced to drive slow. Finally, it took me 75 minutes to reach office.”
Prasant Pati, a Class IX student of a city-based school, said: “I had to bunked tuitions this morning and stayed indoors because of the foggy conditions.”
This winter, there were around 10 instances of such dense fog conditions within the city. However, officials of the meteorology centre blamed the rising pollution-levels as the reason behind the thick fog blanket.
S.C. Sahoo, director, Indian Meteorology Department, Bhubaneswar, told The Telegraph: “Even a few years ago, such dense fog conditions were not seen in the city. But now, pollution levels have gone up because of rising vehicular emissions, rampant construction activities and other development work. So, such dense foggy conditions have become routine.”
Siddhant Das, member secretary of State Pollution Control Board, agreed with Sahoo.
“Normally during winter, pollution level remains on higher side. But many ongoing construction activities, such as road expansion work, and vehicular pollution have aggravated the matter. We will ask the authorities concerned to sprinkle water on construction sites so that the dust settles down”, said Das.
The local meteorological centre issued a fog warning. It said that moderate fog reducing surface visibility below 500 metres might occur over coastal Odisha in the next 48 hours.
In the past two months, fog played havoc with flight schedules at Biju Patnaik Airport many times. Two flights to Calcutta were diverted on January 16.
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