Vikash Sharma

An investigation has been launched by multiple teams, comprising officials of Health department, revenue and disaster management to ascertain the exact cause behind the 16 unnatural deaths reported from Sundargarh district. Preliminary investigation reveals that the casualties were caused due to working during peak hours under excess hot and humid conditions. However, things will be clear only after the conduct of a joint investigation by a state-level team.

The team will shortly visit the districts and conduct a probe in this regard. Moreover, action will be taken against those violating the existing guidelines of engaging people in work during peak hours from 11 am to 3 pm, informed Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Satyabrata Sahu.

“Yesterday allegations had come from Sundargarh and Jharsuguda. It has been found that mostly labour class people or were engaged during peak hours- 11 am to 3 pm. We are getting preliminary information in this regard. The district administration has been asked to conduct a probe and the health team is also visiting the districts. Only after we get a report, we can tell about the exact casualties due to sunstroke,” said Sahu.

According to Sahu, people need to remain cautious and the district administrations of western Odisha districts- Sambalpur, Kalahandi, Sundagargarh, Bolangir, and Boudh were earlier asked to avoid peak hours as already schools and colleges are closed and as elections are also over.

“The labour department had also issued an advisory to avoid going out during peak hours. If anyone is found violating the norms, we will take action against him/her. Apart from this, awareness through public address system will be conducted,” Sahu added.

Nilakantha Mishra, Public Health Director informed that a team has been sent to ascertain the cause of deaths. “Out of 13 deaths reported in Rourkela, one was suffering from Leukaemia and another had some other disease. We have sought a report from Jharsuguda," said Mishra.

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