As many as 11 people who attended the Maharashtra Bhushan award event in Navi Mumbai on Sunday died of sunstroke, the Chief Minister’s Office said in a release on Sunday night. The weather station nearest to the venue recorded a maximum temperature of 38 degrees Celsius on Sunday.
The event, attended by lakhs, was held in an open ground in the Kharghar area in the Raigad district. It was attended by Union Home Minister Amit Shah who conferred the award on spiritual leader and social reformer Appasaheb Dharmadhikari. Chief Minister Shinde, his deputy Devendra Fadnavis and Union minister Kapil Patil among MLAs, MLCs, and ministers were present on the occasion.
Besides the deceased, over 50 people had to be hospitalised. Of that, some are on ventilator support at hospitals in Navi Mumbai and Panvel city, PTI quoted an official. While a few have left the hospital after primary treatment, over 24 are still hospitalised.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, who arrived at a hospital in Navi Mumbai to take stock of the situation, termed the deaths “very unfortunate”. He said that the deceased will be given a compensation of Rs 5 lakh. “Medical treatment of the people under treatment due to sunstroke will be free. The state will pay from its coffers for their treatment,” he said. The Chief Minister also directed officials to shift patients to specialised hospitals if they needed additional treatment.
He said a Deputy Municipal Commissioner-rank official of the Panvel Municipal Corporation has been deputed to coordinate with relatives of patients and medical teams and to give timely updates. “Lakhs of people had come for the event and it went well. It is painful to see some of them suffer. It is a very unfortunate situation which is very painful for me,” he said.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray said the event at Khargar was not properly planned. “We have met the people who are undergoing treatment. I interacted with four to five patients. Two of them were in critical condition. The event was not planned properly. Who will investigate this incident?, Shinde said after visiting the patients at a hospital.
Uddhav was accompanied by his son Aditya Thackeray and NCP leader Ajit Pawar to the MGM Kamothe Hospital to take stock of the situation.
However, Shinde refused to respond to the opposition’s allegations stating that his priority is to ensure that the affected people get proper treatment.