Mumbai: The death toll due to sunstroke at the 'Maharashtra Bhushan' award event in Navi Mumbai rose to 13 after the death of a 55-year-old man while eight patients are undergoing treatment, a civic official said on Monday.
The deceased included nine women and four men.
The award ceremony was held in the open ground in Kharghar area of Navi Mumbai on Sunday morning, which was attended by several lakh people, most of them followers of social worker Appasaheb Dharmadhikari who was conferred with Maharashtra's top civilian award by Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
“All bodies have been identified and their postmortem was performed. The bodies were handed over to their relatives," said Panvel Municipal Corporation (PMC) commissioner Ganesh Deshmukh.
PMC deputy commissioner Vitthal Dake said eight patients are undergoing treatment at a hospital in Kamothe in Navi Mumbai, while 16 others were discharged.
"The condition of the eight hospitalised patients is stable," he added.
The deceased have been identified as Mahesh Narayan Gaikar (42), Jayshree Jagannath Patil (54), Manjusha Krishna Bhombade (51), Swapnil Sadashiv Keni (30), Tulshiram Bhau Vangad (58), Kalavati Siddhram Vaychal (46), Bheema Krishna Salvi (58), Savita Sanjay Pawar (42), Pushpa Madan Gaikar (64), Vandana Jagannath Patil (62), Minaxi Mohan Mistry, Gulab Baban Patil (55), and Vinayak Haldankar (55).
An official release from Navi Mumbai police said during the function children and women lay on roads seeking drinking water, following which a senior police inspector from Kharghar along with his team carried water for them.
For three days, police personnel, including women, from across the state were deployed in and around the venue and they remained there even after the event despite the scorching sun, it said.
Navi Mumbai Police Commissioner Milind Bharambe was present on the ground throughout along with several senior officials. "There was no stampede," the release said.
Many women collapsed due to excessive heat and the policemen on duty drove them on motorbikes through the crowd to medical assistance centres for first aid and saved their lives, the release said.
Lakhs of people had come for the event held on a 306-acre ground in Kharghar. The nearest weather station to the spot had recorded a maximum temperature of 38 degrees Celsius.
Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly Ajit Pawar has sought an inquiry into how the award event was organised at noon time when the temperature is very high.
The Maharashtra Bhushan awardee Appasaheb 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.