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Lok Sabha Polls: EC Chairs Meeting To Address Heat Wave Risks

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New Delhi: With above-normal temperatures and heat waves forecasted in various parts of the country, the Election Commission chaired a crucial meeting on Monday to discuss measures aimed at mitigating risks during the remaining phases of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

Chaired by Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar, along with Election Commissioners Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, the meeting brought together key stakeholders, including officials from the Meteorological Department.

The discussion focused on strategies to combat the challenges posed by heat waves during the electoral process, especially considering that six more phases of the seven-phase exercise are yet to be conducted across the nation. Representatives from the Indian Meteorological Department, National Disaster Management Authority, and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare participated in the deliberations.

Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, the Director General of Meteorology at the India Meteorological Department (IMD), emphasized the continuous coordination between the IMD and the Election Commission. He highlighted the provision of forecasts regarding heat waves and humidity levels to assist in election planning and management.

Earlier, on April 11, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting to review preparedness for the impending heat wave season. During the meeting, the Prime Minister was briefed on the temperature outlook for April to June 2024, with a focus on regions expected to experience above-normal maximum temperatures, particularly in Central India and the western peninsular region.

Preparedness in the health sector was also scrutinized, with a specific emphasis on ensuring the availability of essential medicines, intravenous fluids, ice packs, oral rehydration solution (ORS), and drinking water to address potential health impacts of extreme heat.

IMD’s updated Seasonal Outlook for the hot weather season reiterated the likelihood of above-normal maximum temperatures over most parts of the country, particularly in Central India and western peninsular India, while some areas in the western Himalayan region, northeastern states, and north Odisha may experience normal to below-normal maximum temperatures.

Addressing reporters, Mohapatra underscored the significant risks associated with heatwaves, especially for vulnerable populations. He emphasized the need for proactive measures to safeguard public health and infrastructure, including the establishment of cooling centers, issuance of heat advisories, and implementation of strategies to mitigate urban heat island effects.

With the first phase of voting concluding with a 60% voter turnout across 21 states and Union Territories, attention now shifts to the second phase scheduled for April 26, followed by subsequent phases leading up to June 1. The Election Commission remains focused on ensuring the smooth conduct of the electoral process amidst the challenges posed by rising temperatures and heat waves across the country.

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