79 die of heatstroke in central Bihar, Gaya bans outdoor activities
As many as 79 people have died as a result of an ongoing heat wave in central Bihar in the past four days, according to the state disaster management department.
The district magistrate of Gaya, which witnessed the most deaths, has issued a prohibitory order under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, banning outdoor activities between 10.30 am and 4 pm. The law is usually invoked to ban gatherings and to control law and order.
Pratyaya Amrit, principal secretary, disaster management department (DMD), said all district magistrates had been asked to take preventive action and ensure availability of necessary medicines and facilities in the government hospitals to treat people suffering from sunstroke.
“So far, deaths of 79 persons from four districts, Aurangabad, Gaya, Nawada and Jamui, have been confirmed. The figure may go up, as people suffering from extreme dehydration kept pouring in hospitals across central Bihar. The process for listing out the actual deaths due to heatstroke, which has been declared a local disaster, may take time as it needed verifications from authorised doctors,” said Amrit.
The Gaya district administration has imposed restrictions on construction work and banned manual labour during the day. Business establishments across the city will remain closed from 10.30 am to 4pm. The central Bihar Chamber of Commerce has urged the trading community to adhere to directives and stay indoors during the day.
The maximum temperature in the central Bihar region, including Patna, has been hovering around 44-45 degrees Celsius for the past three days.
State health minister, Mangal Pandey, visited the Anugrah Narayan Magadh Medical College and Hospital (ANMMCH), Gaya, on Monday to take stock of the situation. The minister later said that 106 people were undergoing treatment at the hospital.
Pratyay said the government had offered an ex-gratia amount of ~4 lakh to the families of 39 people who died of heatstroke so far.