Odisha boils under scorching sun

Bhubaneswar, April 23 (IANS) There was no respite from the blistering sun on Saturday as 18 places in Odisha recorded temperatures of over 40 degrees Celsius, officials said.

The government received reports of 37 deaths due to sunstroke on Saturday, but has so far confirmed the death of only two due to sunstroke — in Angul and Balangir.

Western Odisha continued to suffer in the scorching summer, with Tatilagarh recording 48 degrees Celsius, followed by Talcher at 46.8 and Sonepur at 46 degrees Celsius.

Eight places recorded temperatures above 45 degrees Celsius, while state capital Bhubaneswar registered 41.5 degree Celsius, the Met department said.

Special Relief Commissioner Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra said the government has received reports of 73 deaths due to sunstroke while 24 cases were being inquired into by district collectors.

“Out of this, two deaths due to heat stroke were confirmed. A sum of Rs.50,000 as compensation would be provided to the families of the deceased from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF),” said Mohapatra.

“We have written to the central government to consider heat stroke deaths as a disaster. However, it has been classified as a state specific disaster. Hence Rs.50,000 compensation is being provided out of the SDRF,” he said.

He said the government was providing drinking water in rural areas by engaging 1,000 water tankers.

“Leaves of all officials of the water supply department have been cancelled. All of them will be on duty round the clock till the time temperatures return to normal,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bhubaneswar Met office director Sarat Chandra Sahu said temperatures would hover above 40 degrees Celsius for a few days.

However, Met officials said ‘Kal Baisakhi’ — a thunderstorm originating in the Gangetic plains — in the next two days would help bring down the temperatures from April 26.

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