Rajasthan High Court Advocates for National Calamity Status for Extreme Weather Conditions

The Rajasthan High Court directed the state government to compensate dependents of heatwave victims and to declare heatwaves and cold waves as national calamities. The court emphasized implementing the 'Heat Action Plan' and advised on additional measures for public safety during extreme weather conditions.

PTI | Jaipur | Updated: 30-05-2024 14:14 IST | Created: 30-05-2024 14:14 IST
Rajasthan High Court Advocates for National Calamity Status for Extreme Weather Conditions
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The Rajasthan High Court on Thursday directed the state government to provide compensation to the dependents of people who died due to heatwave, and said there was a need to declare heatwaves and cold waves ''national calamities''.

Taking suo motu cognisance regarding environment protection and climate change, the high court directed the chief secretary of Rajasthan to constitute committees of various departments to take immediate and appropriate steps for effective implementation of 'Heat Action Plan' prepared under the Rajasthan Climate Change Project.

The state government was directed to pay suitable compensations to the dependents of those who died due to heatstroke.

The single-judge bench of Justice Anoop Kumar Dhand also directed the state authorities to sprinkle water on the roads with huge public movement, to provide cooling spaces, shades at the traffic signals where required, all possible facilities at the health centres for treatment of heatwave patients and issue advisory for all workers who work in open including porters, cart-and-rickshaw pullers, to allow them to rest between 12 noon and 3 pm during extreme heatwave conditions.

The court also said that the 'Heat Action Plan' was developed in Rajasthan with the advice and leadership of the Disaster Management and Relief Department and the Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board. However, it has not been implemented in ''letter and spirit''.

Referring to various steps and action plans of the central and state authorities, the court observed that in spite of making drafts of such action plans, the effective steps are not taken by the welfare state for the benefit of the public at large to save them from such extreme heatwave conditions.

The court said that looking at the fact that a large number of people have lost their lives due to extreme heatwaves and heatstrokes during summers and chilling cold during winters, it was high time that governments bring appropriate legislation and enact a statutory Act arising out of the Prevention of Deaths Due to Heat and Cold Waves Bill, 2015.

The court said, ''Due to extreme weather conditions in the form of heatwave, hundreds of people have lost their lives this month'' and pointed that every year the nation faces extreme weather conditions in the form of heatwave, rains and coldwave in which many people, particularly the poor, lose their lives.

''The news items published in various newspapers and the news broadcast on electric media reflect that in the heatwave of this year, the death toll has crossed thousands in number,'' it said.

However, the court said that the death tolls from heatwaves are very difficult to estimate since excess heat is typically not listed as the primary cause of death in the cases where the victim has a pre-existing condition such as heart or lung disease.

''Looking at large number of deaths due to extreme heat and cold waves across the country, the National Disaster Management Authority (for short ''the NDMA'') started working on it. There is need to declare heatwave and coldwave as National Calamity,'' said the court.

In the order passed with title, 'Save The Planet Earth And The Future Generation Of This Universe', the court highlighted the importance of saving the planet and protection of environment. The court said that the government and individuals must come together to save the earth.

The court also raised concern regarding pollution and food adulteration.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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