The scorching first day of the Bengali New Year took a toll on traditional celebrations, with the mercury soaring past 40ºC in many parts of south Bengal.
Panagarh in West Burdwan recorded the day’s highest temperature at 42.9ºC, followed by 42.7ºC in Bankura, 42.3ºC in Purulia, 42.2ºC in Burdwan, 42ºC in Suri, 41.5ºC in Jhargram, 41.3ºC in Midnapore, 41.2ºC in Sriniketan, 41ºC in Kalyani, 40.6ºC in Krishnagar and 40ºC in Canning.
The unusual heat marred Poila Baisakh celebrations with many organisers cancelling the traditional prabhat pheri (morning procession).
Shankar Rakshit, who heads Nadia’s Artiste Music Centre, said: “We cancelled our prabhat pheri this time because of the unusual heat. We didn’t want participants to fall ill.”
Several other organisers started their prabhat pheris early and wrapped up by8am.
Prasanta Pal, principal of Nikkon Dance Academy in Nadia’s Krishnagar, said: “We cut short our celebrations and finished by 7.30am to avoid the risk of anyone falling ill due to the heat.”
Experts feel the heat wave-like conditions could pose a threat to crops and horticultural produce.