Bhubaneswar, August 25 (LocalWire): Four people, three of them farmers, were killed today afternoon in separate incidents of lightning in Cuttack and Kendrapara districts.
Lighting fatalities were reported from Mahanga and Salipur tehsil (both in Cuttack district) and Mahakalpada tehsil of Kendrapara district.
The deceased were identified as Krupasindhu Rout (Barakanda village), Ranjan Behera (Lekhanpur village), Niranjan Mallik (Bheda village).
All of them were working in the farms when lightning struck, police said.
In another lightning fatality, a cattle-grazer identified as Babuli Jena died near Lalitgiri hillock under Mahanga tehsil, police said.
The bereaved family members have been promised Rs 4 lakh ex-gratia aid from the Special Relief Commission’s fund. The money will be disbursed after the post- mortem report confirms them to be lightning deaths, 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 in comparison to last year’s death toll.
320 people were killed following lightning strikes in 2018-19 year while the toll stood at 465 in 2017-18. The breakup of lighting fatalities was 397 and 401 respectively in 2016-17 and 2015-16, according to a senior official of revenue and disaster department.
The victims are largely from rural areas with sizable chunk of those getting killed engaged in agriculture.
Lightning was declared as a state-specific disaster from 1 April, 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 the district gratuitous relief fund.