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Mrunal Manmay Dash

A total of 1621 persons have been killed in lightning strikes across Odisha till date since 2018, said the State’s Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Sudam Marndi while replying to a question by Congress MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati in the Legislative Assembly on Friday.

As per Marndi, the families of all the deceased persons have been paid a compensation of up to Rs 4 lakh from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund (CMRF).

Mayurbhanj district recorded the maximum casualties (161), while Ganjam, Keonjhar and Balasore districts registered 123, 119 and 109 lightning deaths since 2018. The fatality count in Boudh district was 12 during the period, the lowest among all the districts of Odisha.

Similarly, a total of 73 persons have been injured in these four years. As per the data provided by the Minister in the Assembly, a maximum of 12 persons, out of the 73, were injured in lightning strikes in Malkangiri district.

Speaking about the measures taken to reduce the loss of lives to the natural phenomenon, Marndi said that the government has signed an MOU with a private organisation, Earth Networks, which has set up eight Lightning Detection Sensors at Keonjhar, Bolangir, Berhampur, Jeypore, Rourkela, Bhubaneswar and Panikoili for early detection of lightning strikes so that the locals could be warned from venturing out during that period.

The sensor is said to have the capabilities to predict lightning strikes within a range of 200 – 250 kms.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Odisha Assembly was adjourned till 4pm on Friday following ruckus by the members of Congress party over demands of a discussion on the alleged corruption in the Odisha Staff Selection Commission (OSSC).

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