State asks Centre to declare heatwave as natural disaster

Bhubaneswar:  The heatwave swept Odisha for the second consecutive day on Saturday with mercury level recording 42 degree Celsius in the state capital and the state government asked the Centre to declare heatwave as a natural disaster.

Bhubaneswar, which recorded 42.2 degree Celsius on Friday, registered 42 degree Celsius on Saturday, the highest in the state while the Met office forecasts of no respite till April 10.

At least 10 major towns of the state recorded temperature above 40 degree while the mercury level hovered between 39 to 40 degree Celsius at five other places.

Bhubaneswar was followed by Bolangir and Chandbali (40.8 degree C), Titlagarh (40.6) Malkangiri, Baripada and Bhawanipatna (40.5 degree C).

While dry weather prevailed in many areas, the weatherman predicted that the heat wave conditions would continue for at least next 48 hours. "There is no chance of rainfall till April 10," said Met office director Sarat Sahu.

As the heatwave had claimed a large number of lives in the past, the state government has demanded declaration of heatwave as a natural disaster, said Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Mohapatra.

Mohapatra said while the Centre has already identified cold wave as a natural disaster, it should also include heatwave in that list. "The poor people dying of heatwave are not getting adequate compensation as they should get from Disaster Response Fund," Mohapatra said.