BHUBANESWAR: As the relentless heat wave continues to singe large parts of the State, the Odisha Government on Tuesday extended school holidays till April 26.
Earlier on April 11, the Government had shut down the schools for nine days following an advisory from the weather office over the heat wave. With the conditions showing no signs of a let-up, the School and Mass Education Department today decided to extend the holidays.
The Government has also sought to know from the Centre if mid day meal scheme (MDM) can be extended to schools in the drought affected districts of the State during the summer vacation. Although there is a provision for MDM during the vacations in the drought-affected areas, the State wants to know if it is compulsory or optional.
“The prevailing conditions are so gruelling that the Department has to take extra precautionary measures for the children if MDM is to be provided during the vacation. Apart from water supply, contingency measures have to be put in place which is why we need a clear direction from the Centre,” sources in the Department said.
The concern of the Department seems justified as the State has witnessed over 11 consecutive heat wave days this month with mercury reaching 46.3 degree Celsius in Titlagarh on Sunday, the highest of the season so far.
The entire State has been in the grip of the heat wave with day temperature soaring three to seven degree above normal in many places. So far, as many as 45 sunstroke deaths have allegedly been reported in the State. Not one has been officially confirmed though.