Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 23:
A little less than 1500 people died due to lightning strikes across Odisha in the last five years amounting to an average of around 300 deaths annually.
Replying to a question in the state Assembly today, Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Bijayshree Routray informed the House that 1,462 persons died due to lightning in the state in a span of five years ending March 15 this year.
Of the 1,462 lightning deaths, the family members of 1,279 victims have so far been given ex-gratia while the remaining families will get the compensation amount soon, Routray said.
As per official figures, Mayurbhanj district tops the list with 153 deaths in the last five years whereas Boudh and Gajapati districts reported the lowest toll of 11. Other districts with high death tolls during the period were Ganjam and Sundergarh with 95 death cases, Jajpur with 94, Dhenkanal with 93 and Keonjhar with 86, Routray said.
It may be recalled that six youth were killed in a lightning strike while they were playing cricket at Kalupada in Khurda district on March 18 this year.
The state government had announced Rs 1.5 lakh compensation to the next of kin of each deceased and free treatment for the injured.