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Lok Sabha polls: Election Commission holds meeting to discuss measures to mitigate risks due to heatwave

New Delhi: Following forecast of above-normal temperatures and heat waves in parts of the country, the Election Commission held a meeting on Monday with different stakeholders, including officials of the Met department.
Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar, along with Election Commissioners Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu chaired the meeting.
The meeting discussed measures to mitigate risk occurring out of heatwaves during the Lok Sabha polls. Six more phases of the seven phased exercise are yet to be held in the country.
Officers of the Indian Meteorological Department, National Disaster Management Authority and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare attended the meeting.
Director General of Meteorology of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said, "IMD is in continuous touch with the Election Commission of India. Along with seasonal forecasts, we are doing monthly, week-wise and everyday forecasts and giving them forecasts about heat waves, and humidity levels. We are providing the ECI, inputs and forecasts about the places where elections are going to be held in different phases."
Previously, on April 11, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had chaired a meeting to review preparedness for the ensuing heat wave season.
The Prime Minister was briefed about the temperature outlook for the period from April to June 2024 including the forecasts for the upcoming hot weather season (April to June), the likelihood of above-normal maximum temperatures over most parts of the country, especially with high probability over Central India and western peninsular India.
Preparedness in the health sector was reviewed in terms of essential medicines, intravenous fluids, ice packs, ORS and drinking water.
IMD had issued an updated Seasonal Outlook for the hot weather season (April to June) 2024, in which it said, above Normal maximum temperatures are likely over most parts of the country, especially with high probability over central India and western peninsular India.
Addressing reporters, Mohapatra, DG, IMD said, "Normal to below normal maximum temperatures are likely over some parts of western Himalayan region, NE states and north Odisha during this hot weather season".
Talking about the impact of heatwaves, the IMD Director General said that during heatwaves elevated temperatures pose significant risks, especially for vulnerable populations like the elderly, children, and those with pre-existing health conditions, who are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
"Prolonged periods of extreme heat can lead to dehydration and strain infrastructure such as power grids and transportation systems. To address these challenges, authorities must take proactive measures like providing access to cooling centres, issuing heat advisories, and implementing strategies to alleviate urban heat island effects in affected areas. Efforts are also needed for safeguarding public health and minimizing the adverse impacts of heat waves," he said.
Voting for the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections concluded on Friday which saw a 60 per cent voter turnout across 21 States and Union Territories.
The second phase will be held on April 26 and the remaining phases will be May 7, May 13, May 20, May 25 and June 1 accordingly. The last general elections in 2019 were also held in seven phases.

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