At least 11 persons reportedly died of heat stroke while attending the Maharashtra Bhushan Award ceremony at Kharghar in Navi Mumbai on April 16, the Chief Minister’s Office said.
More than 20 persons were said to be undergoing treatment at the MGM Hospital in Navi Mumbai after suffering from heat stroke, dehydration and other health-related issues.
According to Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, who later visited the patients, seven or eight people had died due to heat stroke. Another 24 persons became ill and were rushed to the hospital, where they are currently undergoing treatment.
“The State government will give a compensation of ₹5 lakh to the kin of each of the deceased and bear expenses for treating those who have been admitted to the hospital,” said Mr. Shinde.
The death toll is expected to rise, fear authorities.
According to sources, thousands of people had gathered at the sprawling 306-acre ground at Khargar where social activist Dattatreya Narayan alias Appasaheb Dharmadhikari was given the Maharashtra Bhushan award by Union Home Minister Amit Shah in the presence of CM Shinde, Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis and other dignitaries.
According to sources, provision of tents was limited to the dignitaries on the dais, members of the media, and a select few VIPs with the majority of the people, who began milling, hours before the event after having travelled from different parts of Maharashtra, left to bear the onslaught of the scorching heat.
More than 120 people suffered from heat-related health issues, said officials.
The event, for which people had started gathering since morning, began around 11.30 a.m. and went on till around 1 p.m. The ground was packed with followers of the Shree Sadasya (Mr. Dharmadhikari’s organisation) to witness the function. The seating arrangement for the attendees was made in the open, and there was no shed to offer protection from the heat.