Morning school across Odisha from April 2

Bhubaneswar: With the temperature going up alarmingly in Odisha in the last two days and the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) forecasting that the scorching summer would prevail till June end this year, the state government on Tuesday took a slew of measures to tackle the heat wave conditions.

Briefing newsmen after a high level meeting presided over by chief minister Naveen Patnaik at the State Secretariat here, Special Relief Commissioner Pradipta Kumar Mahapatra said in view of the heat wave conditions in the state, instructions have been given to the School and Mass Education department to ensure that schools across the state start at 6.30 AM and end at 10.30 AM from April 2. Besides, the department has been asked to ensure completion of all examinations by end of April, he added.

He also said the chief minister directed the Health department to raise awareness among the people about precautions to be taken to face the heat wave. “The principal secretary, Health and Family Welfare, informed the meeting that heat stroke wards have been opened in all district headquarters hospital to provide first aid to the patients,” he said.

Besides, the Labour and Welfare department has been asked to strictly implement the work timings from April 1 to ensure that there is no labour intensive work from 11 AM to 3.30 PM.

The SRC also said the Commerce and Transport department has been asked to regulate the plying of buses during peak heat hours. “The district collectors have been asked to consult with the bus owners to reschedule the timings of buses and ensure adequate stock of first aid, water and ORS packets.

Mohapatra said media reports about the death of three persons in the state due to heat stroke are being verified. “The district collectors have been specifically told to immediately respond to any complaint related to heat stroke in their area brought either by the media or local representatives,” he informed.

Besides, the meeting had a thorough discussion on supply of drinking water in rural and urban areas where there is acute water scarcity. The collectors and BDOs have been asked to ensure adequate supply of drinking water to these areas through water tankers.

“The Energy department has been asked not to disconnect power to any water supply project till June 30 even in case of default in payment of energy bill and collect only energy charges from the concerned water supply projects. The BDOs have been told to clear the outstanding energy bill of the water supply projects from the unspent money of 13th Finance Commission,” Mahapatra said.

He further said the Fisheries and Animal Resources department has been asked to put up additional vats near tube wells for domestic animals. Besides, instructions have been given to the Forest department to make adequate arrangements for water inside the sanctuaries so that the wild animals get sufficient water during the hot summer.