The Congress on Monday attacked the BJP-Shiv Sena government in Maharashtra over the loss of lives due to sunstroke at an award function in Navi Mumbai, and demanded that accountability be fixed in what it said was a case of “culpable homicide”.
At least 12 people have died while two others are battling for life after suffering sunstroke at the Maharashtra Bhushan award event on Sunday. The deceased were nine women and three men.
Slamming the Maharashtra government at a press conference here, Congress spokesperson Kanhaiya Kumar said, “We express condolences to the affected families and demand that the government take responsibility for it and take action in the matter.” He said that when a contract of crores of rupees is given to organise an event why was there no arrangement of tent, shade, water and air conditioning for people.
“The government is only concerned with photo opportunities. Our Congress unit has already stated that this is a matter of culpable homicide,” Kumar said.
He said the Maharashtra government should not make excuses, should fix accountability, take responsibility and action against those guilty. “The government is the main accused in this,” he alleged.
Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly Ajit Pawar has sought an inquiry into how the award event was organised in Navi Mumbai during noon time when the temperature is very high.
Union Minister Amit Shah conferred the Maharashtra Bhushan Award on spiritual leader and social reformer Appasaheb Dharmadhikari at the event.
Dharmadhikari has a massive following in the state due to his tree plantation drives, blood donation and medical camps as well as de-addiction work in tribal areas.
Chief Minister Eknath Shinde had termed the deaths “very unfortunate” and said the kin of the deceased will be given a compensation of Rs 5 lakh.
Lakhs of people from various parts of Maharashtra attended the award ceremony and sat under the blazing sun in an open ground.