BHUBANESWAR: There is no relief in sight from the blistering heat as mercury showed a gradual rise across the interior and western districts on Monday. As many as 19 stations of the State reported 40 degree-plus temperature as the sunstroke death toll rose to 24 on the day.
With the intolerable conditions persisting, the Chief Minister’s Grievance Cell was shut down till further orders beginning April 18.
The State Government also asked Collectors and SPs to shut down their grievance cells till next orders.
The decision came a day after the death of a 12-year-old girl at Dharmasala Block Office in Jajpur district on Monday. Sonali, the victim, had come to meet Collector Satya Ranjan Mallick to seek financial assistance for treatment. She was sanctioned Rs 4,000 from the Red Cross Fund. Minutes after stepping out of the cell, she collapsed on the block office premises. Sonali was rushed to the nearby hospital where she was declared dead.
The Chief Minister’s Office directed that grievances be reported either through telephone or e-Abhiyoga channel. The Collectors have been advised to publicise telephone numbers and other modes of reporting the grievances in newspapers so that people do not have to appear physically in view of the gruelling conditions which have gripped the State.
In fact, most parts of western and adjoining districts heated up with three towns registering 44 degree C and above. Titlagarh emerged the hottest point with mercury settling at 44.5 degree C. Sonepur and Sundargarh were the other two stations to record 44 degree C.
For a change, Bhubaneswar saw a drop - marginal though - in the day temperature but the level of discomfort grew with a increase in humidity. At 42.9 degree C, the State Capital continued to be on the boil as onset of sea breeze added to the moisture level. However, it also ensured that the day temperature did not rise beyond 1.30 pm.
The weather office warned that the heat wave conditions will continue to prevail till April 19 as dry weather will exist. With Western Disturbance dissipating in the north west India, the region is expected to heat up further.
The Special Relief Commissioner’s office said as many as 24 alleged sun stroke deaths have been reported so far. Khurda has recorded four deaths. Investigation was completed for four deaths which were attributed to non heat wave reasons.