Those working the morning shift will get a three-hour break from 12 noon to 3 p.m. till April 30.
Their work hours have been fixed at eight hours between 7 a.m and 7 p.m. The rejig in the work hours as per the Kerala Minimum Wages Rules, 1958 is a precaution against the possibility of sunstroke. Areas 3,000 ft above sea level where there is little possibility of heatstroke have been excluded.
The temperatures this year have been higher than normal. Going by the trend, March and April are likely to be very hot months, with mercury between 37 and 40 degrees Celsius in most parts of the State, says Fahad Marzook, hazard analyst (meteorology), Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA).
In Palakkad, the temperature will be in the range of 37-40 degrees Celsius. The seasonal forecast for the summer from the IMD is yet to be received though, he says. Temperatures above 37 degrees Celsius are problematic because of the humidity.
Their cumulative effect causes extreme discomfort. Last year, 1,600 cases of health issues caused by heat were reported in March, April, and May. Nearly 800 were of sunburn or sunstroke.
Temperatures in 2019 were not as high as that in 2016, but were still critical. This year too looks to be going the same way. However, temperatures in January this year have been higher than that last year, points out Mr. Marzook.
From January 1 till date, there has been a departure of 3 to 4 degrees Celsius in temperature in Alappuzha, Kannur, Kozhikode, and the Cochin airport. Kottayam has shown the maximum departure – 4.3 degrees Celsius.
The warm sea surface temperature of Arabian Sea is a reason for the increase in temperature, he says.
The KSDMA has urged the people to take precautionary steps as the exam season approaches. Plenty of drinking water in classrooms should be ensured.