Thursday 24 January 2013

The loo of Kanpur

Well, the term loo is widely used as a short form of lavatory or toilet. It is one of the most regularly used words across the world.
But did you know that Kanpur’s loo  has its residents sweating and puffing and that it can cause a lot of problems for them, apart from leading to sever browning of the vegetation in and around the leather capital of India.
This loo in Kanpur is a regular phenomenon and it saps the people of strength and even leads to fatal heat strokes, raging dust storms and even to extreme forms of dryness of the environment.
Yes, there are the loo winds of Kanpur and apart from residents of  the city, only people in the path of these hot and energy sapping winds know about it.
The loo is a Hindi, Punjabi and also Urdu word. It simply means a strong, hot and dry summer wind, generally in the afternoons,  which passes over the western parts of the Indo-Gangetic plains of north eats India and parts of Pakistan.
These winds are very strong and can reach speeds upto 100 kms or more per hour. Temperatures can rise to as high as 48 degrees. They generally occur from May to June and full exposure to these strong and hot winds can be fatal.
These winds lead to low humidity and high temperatures and since Kanpur is right in its path, the Loo always had a severe drying effect on vegetation here, leading to widespread browning in the areas.
The loo has a debilitating effect not only on humans but on animals and plants too. Reserviors and water sources should be protected from loos as they can drain away the water. Many animals, including birds, cannot survive the harsh loo.
The loo, however, is not a harbinger of disease as it has the capacity to even decimate insects. Malaria, which is very common in north, comes down during the loo period as insects also succumb in very large numbers to these winds.
If a person suffers heat strokes during this period, it is called loo lagna. Residents of Kanpur have devised their own way to combat this loo. Certain variety of juices and home made sherbats are prepared to ensure that the body is cool.
These winds mainly originate in the Great Indian Desert,  the Cholisthan desert and the desert areas of  South Balochisthan in Pakistan. It is only the monsoon rains that can wash away Kanpur’s loo. Days before the monsoon, Kanpur and surrounding areas face what is called  Kali Andhi-which are very violent but short dust storms.
In 2008, the loo showed its is capable of being as destructive as any other natural calamity. It killed 50 people in and around Kanpur, Kanauj and Ettawah,  destroyed 300 villages, uprooted power lines, telephone poles and electricity cables, ravaged mango crops and sent the people of Uttar Pradesh into panic. 
Conversely, the loo helps in the cultivation of water melon and a few other summer fruits. Well, travel to Kanpur for an appointment with this loo.
Kanpur is well connected by all forms of transport. It is in Uttar Pradesh and it is the 75th most populous city in the world. It can offer you a variety of sights, historical and religious.   

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