HomeLatest NewsAt least 15 dead in eastern India over 24 hours as temperatures soar

At least 15 dead in eastern India over 24 hours as temperatures soar

BHUBANESWAR: At least 15 people have died of suspected heatstroke in India’s eastern states of Bihar and Odisha, authorities said, with the region gripped in a debilitating heatwave expected to continue until Saturday.

India has been experiencing a blisteringly hot summer and a part of capital Delhi recorded the country’s highest ever temperature at 52.9 degrees Celsius (127.22°F) this week, though that may be revised with the weather department checking the sensors of the weather station that registered the reading.

While temperatures in northwestern and central India are expected to fall in the coming days, the prevailing heatwave over east India is likely to continue for two days, said the India Meteorological Department (IMD), which declares a heatwave when the temperature is 4.5 C to 6.4 C higher than normal.

The deaths of 10 people were reported in the government hospital in Odisha’s Rourkela region on Thursday, authorities told Reuters, while five deaths were reported in Bihar’s Aurangabad city due to “sunstroke”.

“About seven more people died on their way to the hospital yesterday but the exact cause of their death will be known after the autopsy,” Aurangabad District Collector Shrikant Shastree told Reuters.

The Odisha government has prohibited outdoor activities for its employees between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. when temperatures peak.

Three people died of suspected heatstroke in Jharkhand state, neighbouring Bihar, local media reported.

In Delhi, where high temperatures have been causing birds and wild monkeys to faint or fall sick, the city zoo is relying on pools and sprinklers to bring relief to its 1,200 occupants.

“We have shifted to summer management diet, which includes a more liquid diet as well as all the seasonal fruits and vegetables which contain more water,” Sanjeet Kumar, director of the zoo, told news agency ANI.

Delhi, where the temperature is expected to touch 43 C on Friday, recorded its first heat-related death this week and is facing an acute water shortage.

Billions across Asia, including in India’s neighbouring Pakistan, have been grappling with soaring temperatures – a trend scientists say has been worsened by human-driven climate change.

India, which is holding its nationals elections amidst the heat, is the world’s third-biggest greenhouse gas emitter but has set a target of becoming a net-zero emitter by 2070.

While heat is affecting some of the country, the northeastern states of Manipur and Assam have been battered by heavy rainfall after Cyclone Remal, with several areas inundated on Friday.

Monsoon rains also hit the coast of the country’s southernmost Kerala state on Thursday, two days earlier than expected.

‘Too much heat’: Judges asked to let lawyers ditch robes

Soaring temperatures in India’s capital have proven to be too much for some courts and are putting to the test a law in place since 1961 that requires lawyers to wear heavy black robes and coats.

At least three High Courts have permitted lawyers to discard the robes and coats for the summer, although the Supreme Court is being urged to make it a general rule for all lawyers in the country.

Judges at one New Delhi court postponed a case this week until later in the year, complaining about a lack of air conditioning and water supply.

While India’s Supreme Court and most High Courts have air conditioning, many lower courts and consumer forums depend on fans and have poor ventilation.

They have also deployed paramedics to polling stations for the final day of India’s massive general election on Saturday in case any voters fall ill as they queue in the heat. A 40-year-old labourer died of heat stroke on Wednesday.

The northwest of India has been experiencing high temperatures for several weeks. India’s Meteorological Department has predicted two or three times the usual number of heat wave days in the region this month, or days defined by abnormally hot weather.

For Delhi, that means sweltering temperatures that are effecting people across the city, including its legal system.

At a consumer court in the southwestern district of Dwarka, which Reuters visited on Thursday, judges presided over cases against insurance companies in a courtroom fitted with two non-functioning air conditioners. Ceiling fans and open windows offered the only respite from the weather.

Three of the court’s judges issued a written order this week stating they had declined to hear a case due to high temperatures in the court room. They adjourned the case for the cooler month of November.

“There is neither air conditioner nor cooler in the court room … There is too much heat. There is no water supply even to go to the washroom to ease ourselves … In these circumstances, arguments cannot be heard,” the order said.

In 2021, India’s then chief justice said courts “still operate from dilapidated structures without proper facilities”, which was “severely detrimental” for both litigants and lawyers.

A Delhi-based lawyer, Shailendra Mani Tripathi, has taken the matter to the Supreme Court, asking justices to change the decades old dress code.

Black coats absorb more heat and endanger health, Tripathi says in his filing, which the justices have yet to hear. Forcing lawyers to wear them “is neither fair nor reasonable,” he says.

Please visit our website London Institute of Peace Research for latest peace news

Rate This Article:
No comments

leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.