Bangalore: Lightning kills 28 people, 75 head of cattle
Bangalore Urban, Kolar and Udupi districts have not been lucky enough to get the normal pre-monsoon showers from March 1 till Saturday.
Elsewhere, lightning, which is a typical phenomenon during the pre-monsoon period, has left 28 persons and 75 cattle dead. The highest deaths due to lightning has been in Tumkur (six), followed by Gadag where five persons have died. In the last three days alone, 13 persons have died, according to statistics furnished by the Revenue department on Saturday.
Udupi district is the only one among the three coastal districts to receive scanty rain, said B Puttanna, director of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), Bangalore. The deficit was 69 per cent in the district.
North Karnataka, Interior Karnataka and South Karnataka have received normal to excess pre-monsoon showers from April 16 till date. Among the 30 districts, Kodagu, Mysore, Chikkaballapur and Bangalore Rural have received normal showers, while three districts – Bangalore Urban, Kolar and Udupi – below normal to scanty. The rest of the 23 districts have received excess rains, the director said.
The State, on the whole, has received 42.6 mm rain, while the average this season is 24.3 mm. This means that the State has received 75 per cent more than the average rain.
In case of North Interior Karnataka, comprising 11 districts including Bagalkot, Bijapur, Gadag and Yadgir, 42.3 mm rain has been received, registering 122 per cent more than the average. As many as 16 districts in South Interior Karnataka have witnessed 60 per cent more rain than the average of 30 mm.
Puttanna said deaths due to lightning are not rare during the pre-monsoon period. “About 100 deaths due to lightning is a common thing. The weather bureau issues repeated warnings to people not to stand beneath trees or buildings which have no earthing facility. But still, they continue to do this,” he said.
He said, but for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, the IMD would have announced the monsoon forecast for this year by April 16. Usually monsoon enters Karnataka by June 5, and Bangalore receives its highest rainfall from September to October.
“The summer is normal and in some districts, it is severe. So, we can expect a normal monsoon in the State,” the director said.
Tumkur Deputy Commissioner K S Sathyamurthy said that the election model code of conduct, which is in force, did not come in the way of payment of ex gratia to the legal heirs of those who have died due to lightning.
“The ex gratia fixed for the loss of human life is Rs 1.5 lakh and to the owners of cattle that die, it is Rs 25,000,” he said.