4 May :As many as 2,734 people have lost their lives due to sunstroke in Orissa over a period of 12 years even as the state government claims to have spent crores of rupees in creating awareness among the masses to beat the heat.
While the figure of 2,042 people dying of sunstroke remains the highest in 1998, the intense heat has continued to take human lives every year after that.Altogether 236 people had died in 2005, sources said. However, it was alleged that the figure went up to 582.
As sunstroke was not part of the relief code, the victims did not get any assistance from the government.
"The state government, however, gives only Rs 10,000 each to the victim’s family from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund," a senior official at the Revenue and Disaster Management Department told the news agency.
Though the state government had asked the Centre to include sunstroke and lightning in the calamity relief fund, no action has been taken so far, the official said.
While sunstroke deaths last year were 67, they were comparatively less at 47 deaths in 2007.
In 1999, as many as 91 people had died followed by 29 deaths in 2000, 25 in 2001, 41 in 2002, 68 in 2003 and 45 in 2004.