Kerala plea to treat lightning strikes as natural disasters

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on May 30, 2014

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has requested the Centre to categorise lighting strikes under natural disasters and extend financial aid for loss of life and property.

He said this while inaugurating a one-day workshop on ‘Hazards of lightning and protection strategies’ here on Friday.

The event was organised by the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology, and Environment and the Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action.

The disastrous impact of lightning needs to be seen as a natural disaster that needs to be addressed the way other natural disasters are in terms of aid to victims.

He has already taken up the issue with the Union Cabinet, including the Prime Minister, but he regretted that the Planning Commission thought otherwise.

Financial aid

This was purportedly because it saw losses from the event more often restricted to individuals. This was something he failed to understand, the Chief Minister said. Other natural disasters may be averted by human intervention. This is not the case with lightning.

Lightning victims are currently provided financial aid by the State government. They now get ₹2 lakh as aid from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. But this wouldn’t be enough.

VN Rajasekharan Pillai, Executive Vice-President of the Kerala State Council, pointed out that losses due to damage of electrical and other appliances also need to be looked at seriously.

Research centre

George Verghese, Director, was of the view that, being a natural phenomenon, lighting was also a need for the nature’s evolution process.

Suresh Kumar, General Secretary, said that the Centre for Innovation had decided to function as a lightning awareness and research centre.

Among those who made presentations were S Muralidas, former scientist; GR Nagabhushana of IISc, Bengaluru; and Sekhar L Kuriakose of Institute of Land and Disaster Management, Kerala.

Satyajeet Rajan, Principal Secretary, Revenue, was chief guest for the morning session. Kamalakshan Kokkal and Harinarayanan of the State Council and KG Ajith Kumar of the Centre for Innovation spoke.

Published on May 30, 2014

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