On April 16, 2023, a tragic incident occurred in Navi Mumbai, where eleven people died due to heat stroke while attending the Maharashtra Bhushan Award ceremony. The event was attended by thousands of people, including Union home minister Amit Shah, Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde, and his deputy Devendra Fadnavis.
The ceremony was held on a 306-acre ground, with limited provision of tents, resulting in only dignitaries and select VIPs being offered protection from the heat. The attendees were left to stand directly under the sun with no shade or cover provided, leading to several people complaining of dizziness and exhaustion.
Over 120 people suffered health issues related to the heat, with 13 of them being admitted to hospitals, of which 11 died. Compensation of ₹5 lakh will be given to the families of each deceased person and will cover the expenses of those undergoing treatment. Officials fear that the number of victims will rise.
Chief Minister Eknath Shinde inquired about the health of people who are undergoing treatment at MGM Hospital in Kamothe. The Chief Minister interacted with the patient’s undergoing treatment. Also discussed with the doctors there and got information about the treatment.
However, this incident has led to the various questions raised on the Eknath Shinde’s government. How can government organize such events without any facilities for the people during the summertime when the risks of heat waves are all time high?
According to a recent study published in The Lancet, there has been a 55% increase in deaths due to extreme heat in India between 2004 and 2017-2021. The study noted that the increasing intensity, frequency, and duration of heatwaves in India are due to climate change.
Vulnerable populations are most at risk, as heat-related deaths have increased by two thirds globally in the past two decades. Heatwaves can cause a cascade of illnesses, including heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and hyperthermia. India is particularly prone to heatwaves, with five to six heatwave events occurring every year between March and June