Lightning claims 30 lives in Odisha
Lightning caused havoc in Odisha on Saturday, claiming close to 30 lives and leaving many injured.
Majority of the casualties were reported from the northern districts such as Mayurbhanj, Balasore and Bhadrak. The three districts together reported 17 deaths.
Eight persons struck by lightning succumbed to injuries in Bhadrak district.
In the neighbouring Balasore district, seven persons died due to lightning strikes since Saturday morning.
Most of the victims were farmers, agricultural labourers and commuters who had taken shelter under trees.
In the Jaleswar area of Balasore, lightning killed two brothers. The duo, identified as Pankaj Kumar Rout and Arun Kumar Rout of the Manakana village, were planting paddy seedlings in a field when tragedy struck. District administration sources said another two persons, including a woman, who were struck by lightning died on the spot.
Four deaths were reported from the Bhushandpur area of the Khurda district. All the victims were fishermen who had ventured into deep sea.
Eight persons were also injured in lightning in the area. They were admitted in Tangi Hospital.
Lightning also claimed one in the Mendhasala area on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar. While three deaths were reported from Jajpur district, Keonjhar recorded two deaths.
One death each had been reported from Puri, Nayagarh and Kendrapara districts during the day.
Expressing grief over the deaths, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has directed the Special Relief Commissioner to provide ex-gratia in accordance with the relief code.
Lightning strikes claim more lives than any other calamities in Odisha every year. On an average, more than 300 persons have died per year due to lightning strikes in the State in the last five years.
In the last 15 years, the State lost more than 4,000 people due to lightning strikes across 30 districts. In 2015-16, lightning killed 396 persons, according to figures available with the State.
“We have estimated that 979 persons died in different calamities in 2015-16. Of which, 396, which is more than 30 per cent of all deaths, alone died due to lightning strikes, which was declared as a State-specific disaster from April 1 last year,” said Pravat Ranjan Mohapatra, Deputy Special Relief Commissioner of Odisha.
Mr. Mohapatra said family members of the victims would have to produce post-mortem reports to claim an ex-gratia of Rs. 4 lakh for each death.
sambad epaper 01/08/2016: http://sambadepaper.com/epapermain.aspx