At least 11 people died and over 120 others suffered from heat-related health problems at the Maharashtra Bhushan award ceremony in Navi Mumbai on Sunday, 16 April.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis were present at the event, along with other state and union ministers.
What Happened: At the event held to felicitate social activist Dattatreya Narayan with the Maharashtra Bhushan award, people suffered from dehydration and heatstroke as no shade was provided at the venue, even in scorching heat.
While some patients were referred to the medical booths set up at the event, others suffering from heatstroke were taken to different hospitals near the venue. Some of them are on ventilator support, reported PTI.
The event, which started at 11:30 am and ended around 1 pm, was attended by lakhs of people in a packed ground with no shade.
Home Minister Shah had mentioned during the event that he had never seen so many people gather to honour a “person for his social service,” reported PTI.
What Politicians Have Said So Far: Maharashtra Chief Minister visited the patients and has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh for the kin of the deceased, while also ensuring free treatment for the others.
A tweet from the Maharashtra CMO’s handle also mentioned that the CM had ordered a Deputy Municipal Commissioner-rank official of the Panvel Municipal Corporation to coordinate patient care and “ensure that patients and relatives are not inconvenienced.”
Deputy CM Fadnavis also took to Twitter to share his condolences. He wrote, “It is very unfortunate and painful that some members participating in the Maharashtra Bhushan award ceremony this morning died due to heatstroke. I offer my heartfelt tributes. We share the grief of their families.”
Opposition Leaders Met Patients: Maharashtra’s Opposition leaders such as Former Chief Minister and Chief of Shiv Sena (UBT) Uddhav Thackeray, former minister Aditya Thackeray, and Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar met patients at the MGM Kamothe Hospital.
The former CM raised a question at how the event was not organised with diligence, also asking whether there will be an investigation into the matter. Pawar also called for a probe into the incident.
Priyanka Chaturvedi, another leader from Shiv Sena (UBT), also took to Twitter to condone the organisers of the event, saying, "The people were sitting in the sun waiting for the award function to begin with VVIP guests. What an insensitive, inhuman tragedy. Shameful."
NCP leader Supriya Sule, while talking to ANI on Monday, said, "Amid rising heat, sensitivity must be shown while organising such events. CM announced Rs 5 lakhs for those who died, but the value of people's lives isn't Rs 5 lakhs. We can't compare the value of their lives with money."
(With inputs from PTI and ANI)