The Nilgiris district, part of the 5,520 square km Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve, is a biodiversity hotspot and a UNESCO World Heritage Site defined by its evergreen shola forests, montane grasslands, the best-suited place for tourism across south India. But places across the Nilgiris like Ooty, Manjur, Connoor, Thalakunda and Korakunda was found affected with hoarfrost for the past 10 days.
The Nilgiris was affected by heavy frost around last month as well and suffered heavy rains for a week because of cyclone Gaja. Temperature returned to normalcy for some 10 days – ranging between 3.5-degree Celsius to 6 degree Celsius.
What should be noted is that for the same period in 2018, the temperature ranged between 19 degree Celsius to 24 degree Celsius.
Similarly, in Valparai, temperatures have hit 3 degree Celsius for almost two weeks now and it was the lowest recorded temperature in the state, in the past 10 days.
It is because of these severe climatic conditions in the Nilgiris, that people working in tea plantations and school going children have been heavily affected.
Moreover, plants and flowers were found seared out because of severe cold. The number of tourists who come to Rosegarden, Botanical garden, boat house, Thottapetta have been having seen a heavy downfall. The grasslands are completely covered in snow and hence have adversely affected the pasturage of Toda buffaloes which is a genetically isolated population found only in the Nilgiris.
Not only human beings but the entire livestock are suffering because of dehydration. The lack of predictability of climate change has also interfered with the traditional agricultural practices of the indigenous people of Nilgiris. This has resulted in a decrease in honey production – a major cottage industry in the region.
Tamil Nadu government's health department along with the forest department officials have taken necessary actions to safeguard public against health issues.