Delhi heatwave: officials investigating if temperature of 52.9˚C due to faulty sensor

Delhi heatwave: officials investigating if temperature of 52.9˚C due to faulty sensor

Authorities in India are investigating whether a faulty sensor may have been behind a reading that showed temperatures in Delhi soaring past 50 degrees for the first time, amid a scorching heatwave in the capital.

A heatwave alert has been in place for large parts of India since last week, but on Wednesday the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the temperature in the suburb of Mungeshpur had passed 50˚C for the first time in the city.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said it was examining the data and sensors at the Mungeshpur station after an unusually large variation in temperatures was recorded at the station compared to others.

A raft of other stations around the capital recorded more consistent temperatures that were close to 50, with Najafgarh the highest at 49.1 degrees Celsius, as authorities warned of water shortages in India’s capital.

City authorities warned of the risk of water shortages as the capital swelters. The water minister, Atishi Marlena, called for “collective responsibility” in stopping wasteful water use, the Times of India reported on Wednesday.

“To address the problem of water scarcity, we have taken a slew of measures such as reducing water supply from twice a day to once a day in many areas,” the Indian Express reported Atishi as saying. “The water thus saved will be rationed and supplied to the water-deficient areas where supply lasts only 15 to 20 minutes a day.”

Many blame the soaring temperatures on scorching winds from Rajasthan state, where temperatures on Tuesday reached 50.5˚C.

At the SMS hospital in Rajasthan’s capital, Jaipur, so many bodies of casualties of the heat have arrived at the mortuary that its capacity has been exceeded. Police in the city say many of the victims are poor labourers, who have no choice but to work outside, and homeless people.