Patna: Desperate heat conditions require desperate remedies. That seems to be the guiding principal of the district administration in Gaya, which has issued prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the IPC which empower all SDMs to prevent movement of people on the streets between 10 am and 4 pm, when the heat wave is at its peak.
The big idea is to force the public to stay indoors, so that they don't succumb to the heatwave.
Gaya, a dry and dusty bowl, is among many areas in Bihar which are reeling under a severe heat wave; nearly 40 have died in the town and several others are hospitalised. The directions prohibiting the assembly of five or more people in the area is expected to alleviate the town’s misery.
The Gaya administration, in its wisdom, has also banned construction and other outdoor activities that involve intense manual labour between 11 am and 4 pm. The block level officers will further ensure that all activities of labourers under MGNREGA cease after 10 am. They can work till early morning.
Taking the steps to combat heat to another extreme, the Disaster Management Department of the state government on Monday issued another advisory asking people not to consume tea or coffee, tobacco and cigarettes during the heatwave.
The advisory has been issued following the death of 188 people in the last two days in South Bihar districts due to heatstroke. Twenty-seven people died in in Aurangabad alone last week.
But there is less grim news for those who shirk going to school or office. The summer vacation in all government and private educational institutions has been extended up to June 24. Some schools, which had opened on Monday, were ordered to be closed down for one more week.
The Health Minister of Bihar on Monday visited the Medical College Hospital at Gaya and the Sadar hospital at Aurangabad, where most of the heat stroke patients are admitted.
He asked doctors to increase the number of coolers in the wards when he was greeted with protests by attendants of patients, who complained of poor facilities.
They alleged that primary health centres were not working. At Aurangabad Sadar hospital, doctors lamented that patients were dying of heat stroke every 30 minutes, as the wards did not have sufficient coolers or fans, nor para medical staff. Only one doctor was present in the hospital.
There shall be no commercial activity in Gaya district between 11 and 4 pm and all shops shall remain closed during this period, the order said.
By CHHAYA MISHRA