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IMD Chief Warns of Intense Heat Wave During Lok Sabha Elections

New Delhi: As India braces for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) chief, Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, issued a cautionary statement on Sunday, highlighting the looming threat of an intense heat wave gripping the country during the election period.

Mohapatra underscored the critical importance of considering weather conditions and climate factors when planning large-scale events such as the Lok Sabha elections.

“Authorities should take into account weather and climate conditions when organizing massive exercises like one nation, one election,” Mohapatra stated in an interview with PTI.

With the die cast for the 18th Lok Sabha polls, the Election Commission of India (ECI) had earlier announced on March 16 that the elections would be held across India in seven phases, spanning from April 19 to June 1, with counting scheduled for June 4 — placing the electoral process squarely in the midst of the summer season.

As April progresses, signs of an oppressive summer have already begun to manifest.

Odisha, for instance, experienced some respite on Sunday following a spell of intense heatwave conditions over the past few days, during which Bhubaneswar recorded a scorching temperature of 43.5 degrees Celsius on Friday.

However, the relief is expected to be short-lived, as the IMD has forecasted a significant number of heatwave days in several states including Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, and Andhra Pradesh in the coming weeks.

In response to these forecasts, the IMD has been providing specialized weather predictions to assist authorities in better preparation.

Mohapatra stressed the need for adequate arrangements to ensure the well-being of voters amidst the scorching heat. “If people are in the queue, they should have sufficient water to drink. There should be provision for first aid and health workers to assist if people faint or suffer from sunstroke, and there should be shade. This is the minimum requirement in terms of preparations,” he remarked.

However, despite the looming heatwave conditions, Mohapatra indicated that the weather department has not proposed any changes to the timings of public rallies and voting.

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