Karnataka to treat heat wave as natural calamity

Karnataka to treat heat wave as natural calamity

The state government has decided to bring ‘heat wave’ incidents under the natural calamity category, a move that will help north Karnataka as the region reels under extreme heat during summer.

The Revenue Department on Monday issued a notification, stating that kin of heat wave victims will be given Rs 4 lakh as compensation. 

According to sources in the Revenue Department, Karnataka never had the concept of a heat wave unlike adjoining states such as Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. But the steady rise in mercury levels in recent years across the north Karnataka region has prompted the department to include heat wave as a natural calamity.

“Heat wave incidents are not covered under the SDRF or NDRF. But the state working committee headed by the Chief Secretary has considered the possibility of including heat wave under the natural calamity as it is prevalent across North Karnataka and coastal districts. Hence, the victims of heat wave shall be compensated as per the guidelines of SDRF and NDRF,” the circular said.

Confirming the decision, Dr GS Srinivasa Reddy, Director, Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Cell (KSNDMC), said as per the heat wave action plan 2018, average summer mean maximum temperatures have increased over Karnataka.

“Temperature across the Karnataka region has been increasing significantly at 95%. Besides, the urban heat island phenomenon will also result in unhealthy heat stress and heat-related mortality rate,” he said.

As per sources, Karnataka first witnessed a heat wave-related death during 2015, and since then stray cases have been observed.

“As there was no compensation awarded for such deaths, there was no record maintained about the actual number of deaths. But we have been hearing heat wave cases from North Karnataka,” a senior official from the revenue department said.

Heat wave is usually experienced between March and June in as many as 14 districts of North Karnataka.

The state-level weather watch committee (drought review committee) has already sounded an alert for the state, especially parts of Hyderabad-Karnataka, over heat and water crises. The committee has directed all DCs to keep enough funds ready to supply tankers to parched lands.