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Maharashtra Bhushan Award event: Death toll rises to 11 in heatstroke incident; over 100 hospitalized

Maharashtra: The death toll in the heat stroke that took place at an award event in Maharashtra’s Navi Mumbai rose to 11 on Monday. More than 120 people suffered from heat-related health issues, like dehydration, due exposure to sunlight on Sunday during a mega event in Navi Mumbai, where social activist Dattatreya Narayan alias Appasaheb Dharmadhikari was given the Maharashtra Bhushan award, a government official said.

Thirteen of these people were admitted to different local hospitals and the condition of one of them is serious, the official said.

Lakhs of followers of Dharmadhikari attended the grand function held on a sprawling 306-acre ground in Kharghar. Union Home Minister Amit Shah presented the award, instituted by the Maharashtra government, to Dharmadhikari. The event, for which people had started gathering since morning, began around 11.30 am and went on till around 1 pm. Many of them had arrived on Saturday.

The ground was packed with people and equipped with audio/video facilities for followers of Shree Sadasya (Dharmadhikari’s organisation) to witness the function. The seating arrangement for the attendees was made in the open and there was no shed.

“A total of 123 people complained of heat-related health ailments, like dehydration during the event. They were immediately referred to the 30 medical booths set up at the venue. Thirteen of the patients, who needed further treatment, were shifted to different private hospitals and the condition of one of them is serious,” a revenue department official, who was on duty at the venue, said.

“A total of 30 doctors were deployed at the medical booths that had intensive care unit (ICU) facilities to treat people at the venue,” she said.

A doctor at a civic hospital in Navi Mumbai’s Vashi said that five patients were admitted there for treatment after they complained of heat-related health issues.

During the event, Shah said he has never seen such a big presence of lakhs of people to honour a person for his social service. Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis were also present on the occasion.

CM Shinde on Sunday informed that around 7-8 persons died after attending the ‘Maharashtra Bhushan’ award event. He claimed that these people lost their lives at hospitals hours after they were exposed to sunlight during the event. At least 24 people are undergoing treatment at a hospital.

Earlier in the day, Union home minister Amit Shah conferred the award on Appasaheb Dharmadhikari at the ceremony held in the Kharghar area in Raigad district neighbouring Mumbai.

Shinde termed the incident “very unfortunate” 

Shinde termed the deaths as “very unfortunate”. “As per the briefing received from doctors, 7-8 people have died today, while some 24 are being treated. This is a case of sunstroke. Some 50 people were admitted to a Navi Mumbai-based hospital of which 24 are still admitted while the rest have been discharged after primary treatment,” he said.

Amit Shah was present at the event 

Union home minister Amit Shah was present at the event to confer the award to Appasaheb Dharmadhikari at an open ground in Kharghar near Mumbai City earlier in the day. The nearest weather station to the spot of the event recorded a maximum temperature of 38 degrees Celsius. Shinde said the kin of the deceased will be given a compensation of Rs 5 lakh. “Medical treatment of the people under treatment due to sunstroke will be free. The state will pay from its coffers for their treatment,” he said. Lakhs of people had come for the event.