Govt forms expert panel to study rise in lightning deaths

Bhubaneswar: The state government on Tuesday decided to constitute an expert committee to study causes behind the spurt in lightning deaths in Odisha.
According to government reports, the state registers the highest number of deaths due to lightning strikes in the country with 400 a year against the national average of 2,000. This year, lightning strikes have so far claimed 258 lives.
After the review meeting, Revenue and Disaster Mitigation minister Maheswar Mohanty said, “The first 30 minutes after it starts to rain are crucial. The casualties can be avoided if people remain alert during this period.”
The minister said the government will also undertake awareness campaigns to curb such deaths. “Proactive steps will be taken to sensitise people in rural areas regarding the measures to save themselves from lightning by organising palli sabhas and gram sabhas,” he added.
Earlier, Disaster Mitigation Department was only responsible for creating awareness to prevent casualties during lightning. Five more departments – Panchayati Raj, Labour, School & Mass Education, Agriculture, and Energy – will now be involved to educate people, official sources said.
The panel, comprising officials of Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA) and Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) office, will conduct a detailed study and analysis of the postmortem reports of the persons killed in the natural disaster, the sources added.
Special Relief Commissioner Bishnupad Sethi said a detailed analysis regarding the time and place of such incidents will also be done to chalk out a comprehensive strategy.

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