Kendrapara, August 21 (LocalWire) In the latest burst of lightning, at least five persons, all farmers, were killed on Wednesday afternoon while two others were injured in separate incidents in Odisha’s Kendrapara district.
Lighting fatalities were reported in Garadpur, Mahakalpada and Marshaghai block of the district.
While two each died in Mahakalpada and Garadpur blocks, another perished as lightning struck him.
The deceased persons were identified as Dillip Mallick (Narilo village), Ajay Naik (Padmapur village), Papuni Das and Ranga Behera (both from Karanja village) and Bijoy Naik, a native of Marshghai, said officials of district emergency office.
The victims were engaged in a farming operation in paddy fields when lightning struck them.
The bereaved family members are being extended Rs 4 lakh ex-gratia aid each from Special Relief Commission’s gratuitous relief fund, said officials.
Thanks to improved early-warning infrastructure mechanism and increased public awareness, the scourge of lightning fatalities has registered a sharp downward trend this year in the eastern State.
The lightning toll has registered a sharp decrease this year in comparison to last year’s death toll.
320 people were killed following a lightning strike in 2018-19 year while the toll stood at 465 in the 2017-18 year.
The breakup of lighting fatalities was 397 and 401 respectively in 2016-17 and 2015-16 year, according to a senior official of revenue and disaster department.
The victims are largely from rural areas with sizeable of chunk of those getting killed being farmers engaged in agriculture operation.
Lightning was declared as a State-specific disaster from April 1, 2015.
As per the revised norms, Rs 4 lakh per deceased is now being paid by the government as ex-gratia towards lightning victim’s families.
Prior to 2015, ex-gratia was either being paid from the chief minister’s relief fund or district gratuitous relief fund.