Jharkhand moves to classify lightning death a natural calamity

August 1st, 2008 - 6:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Ranchi, Aug 1 (IANS) The bolt from the blue has the Jharkhand government worried. The fact that 50 to 60 people die from lightning strikes each year has made the state government urge the central government to classify death by lightning as a natural calamity. In 2007, 68 people lost their lives to lightning strikes and this year’s toll already stands at over 30.

The Jharkhand High Court had taken up the issue last year, directing the state government to ensure lightning conductors were installed atop all high-rise buildings and schools. In 2007, six children of a government school had died due to a lightning strike.

The state government also has to pay compensation of Rs.100,000 each to the families of the victims, according to an official of the disaster management department.

“At present the state government pays the entire compensation amount. We have written to the central government to include lightning strikes as a natural calamity. If that happens, the state will get funds under the Natural Calamity Contingency Fund and the Calamity Relief Fund,” an official of Jharkhand’s disaster management department told IANS.

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