After 11 attendees die of sunstroke, Ajit Pawar seeks probe into Maharashtra Bhushan award organised at noon

Thane: It is a well known fact that during April-May, the temperature is very high. During these days, the temperature is around 40 degrees Celsius, Pawar said

BY | Monday, 17 April, 2023
A section of the gathering during the Maharashtra Bhushan award held at Kharghar, in Maharashtra on 16 April 2023. (PIB)

Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly Ajit Pawar has sought an inquiry into how the ‘Maharashtra Bhushan’ award event was organised in Navi Mumbai during noon time when the temperature is very high, after at least 11 people died due to sunstroke.

Lakhs of people had come for the event held on Sunday on a 306-acre ground in Kharghar area. The nearest weather station to the spot had recorded a maximum temperature of 38 degrees Celsius.

Pawar visited the MGM Hospital at Kamothe in Navi Mumbai late Sunday night and enquired about the health of the people undergoing treatment there after suffering from sunstroke.

Talking to reporters, he termed the incident as “most unfortunate” and said the priority was to ensure the patients get well soon.

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader claimed it was a function of the Maharashtra government.

It is a well known fact that during April-May, the temperature is very high. During these days, the temperature is around 40 degrees Celsius, he said.

“Hence, it needs to be probed as to who had fixed the noon timing for the award function,” the NCP leader said.

Pawar said the function could have been held in the evening and Union Home Minister Amit Shah could have taken a chopper to reach the venue.

Shah on Sunday conferred the Maharashtra Bhushan Award on spiritual leader and social reformer Appasaheb Dharmadhikari at the event.

The authorities could not give the exact number of those who had taken ill as the patients were undergoing treatment in different hospitals in and around Kharghar in Navi Mumbai.

The Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) in a release on Sunday night said, “At least 11 deaths apparently due to sunstroke have been confirmed.

Read more: 123 people suffer from heat-related health issues at Maharashtra Bhushan Award ceremony; 13 hospitalised, one serious

A police official had said some patients were discharged after recovery, while some remain admitted in hospitals and are under observation.

Shinde had told reporters outside a hospital in Navi Mumbai that at least 50 people were admitted there out of which 24 are still hospitalised while the rest have been discharged after primary treatment. He termed the deaths “very unfortunate”.

Shinde said the kin of the deceased will be given a compensation of Rs 5 lakh.

The deceased included eight women. Ten of the bodies wee handed over to their relatives, officials said.

Many of the followers of Shree Parivar (Dharmadhikari’s organisation) had reached the venue on Friday and stayed there till the function concluded at around 1.30 pm on Sunday.

On Sunday, some people complained of dizziness and other complications. Some also fainted at the function ground. They were initially treated at make shift medical facilities and later rushed to hospitals.

Dharmadhikari has a massive following in the state due to his tree plantation drives, blood donation and medical camps as well as de-addiction work in tribal areas.

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