The death toll due to heat stroke during the “Maharashtra Bhushan” award event held on Sunday in Navi Mumbai rose to 11. Further, more than 50 others, who suffered heat stroke, have been hospitalized at Tata Hospital in Kharghar. In the event, Appasaheb Dharmadhikari was felicitated with “Maharashtra Bhushan” award.
The function, which was attended by lakhs, was held in an open ground. During noon hours temperature shoot up sharply and the health of the people deteriorated. The ground was packed with people and equipped with video and audio facilities for them to watch the event. However, there was no shade over the audience seating arrangement.
According to the police, some patients are currently on ventilator support at hospitals in Panvel and Navi Mumbai, and their health is being monitored constantly.
Following the tragedy, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde announced a Rs. 5 lakh compensation and stated, “As per the briefing received from doctors, 7-8 people have died today, while 24 are being treated. This is a case of sunstroke.” Shinde added, “Some 50 people were admitted to the hospital, of which 24 are still there while the rest have been discharged after primary treatment.”
Taking to Twitter, Maharashtra Deputy CM Fadnavis also announced that the state government will be paying for the treatment of those who suffered heat-related illness.
Meanwhile, former Maharashtra CM and Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Uddhav Thackeray claimed that the event was not properly planned. He also raised a question, “Who will investigate this incident?.” Maharashtra Leader of Opposition and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar also called for an investigation into the incident.
Notably, the Maharashtra government instituted the award, and Union Home Minister and Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Amit Shah presented it to social activist Appasaheb Dharmadhikari. The day temperature during the event was reportedly recorded at a maximum of 38 degrees Celsius.