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Odisha government today set up an expert committee to ascertain the reason for high incidence of lightning in the state, where at least 257 people have been killed due to it so far this year. "An everage of 400 people die due to lightning per year in Odisha. The expert committee will assertain the rise in the lightning incidents in the state," Revenue and Disaster Mangement Minister Maheswar Mohanty told reporters after a high level meeting in which the decision on the commitee was taken. Lightning casulty rate is the highest in Odisha, which recorded 401 lightning deaths in 2015-16 and 398 deaths in 2016-17, Mohanty said adding a total of 2,000 deaths were being reported in the country every year. He said the victims of lighthing are mostly farmers who work in open fields and suggested awareness campaign to reduce the casulty rate. The experts committee will comprise officials of Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA) and Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) office. "The officials of OSDMA and SRC will conduct a detailed study and analysis of the postmortem reports of the persons killed in the lightning," Mohanty said. SRC B P Sethi said that apart from postmortem reports, a detailed analysis will be done regarding the timing of deaths and place whether urban or rural so as to chalk out a comprehensive strategy. He said lightning incidents are more frequent from May to August (about 71 per cent) and occur more in coastal belts in the state. High occurance of lightning has been reported from Mayurbhanj, Ganjam, Keonjhar, Sundergarh, Cuttack, Balasore, Dhenkanal, Jajpur, Khurda and Nayagarh.
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