BHUBANESWAR: In the wake of by the (IMD) in most parts of Odisha in next 48 hours, the state government on Tuesday decided not to allow school and college students to participate in ceremonial Independence Day parades. The home department has asked all (RDC) and collectors to restrict participation in official parades to police and paramilitary contingents only.
“It is advised that the parade may not consist of children in view of adverse weather conditions. Cultural and sports activities may also be avoided,” wrote Santosh Bala, special secretary, home department to all RDCs and collectors.

The decision came after chief minister expressed concern over the safety of children during the Independence Day functions and asked the officers to keep it a low key affair while reviewing flood and rainfall situations earlier on the day.

“My concern is lightning should not strike children, so let‘s keep the Independence Day functions to the minimum… I don‘t know how to reduce it though,” said Naveen to officials in the review meeting.

The home department has also asked to take adequate precautions to ensure safety of the guests and other participants during the celebrations.

Many students of different schools and colleges of the city who practiced and rehearsed for the Independence Day parade were a bit disappointed with the restriction. “We practiced a lot for the ceremonial Independence Day parade at Mahatma Gandhi Marg for last one month but at the 11th hour we know that we are not allowed. It felt bad,” said Supreet Panda a class Ix student of , Chandrasekharpur.

However, the Independence Day functions in schools will be conducted as per the schedule. “We have advised all school authorities to take precautionary measures for rain. If they find the weather adverse then they may cancel the celebrations,” said school and mass education secretary P K Mohapatra.

The IMD has issued warning of heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places with extremely heavy rainfall at one or two places over Puri, Khurda, Ganjam, Nayagarh, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Kandhamal, Jagatsingpur, Gajapati, Kendrapara, Boudh, Sambalpur, Kalahandi and Angul districts of Odisha in the next 48 hours.

“Incessant rain is continuing in many coastal, interior and southern districts with moderate rainfall in other parts. Since heavy rain is likely to occur in several places due to the low pressure, we cannot predict the exact time and place. Besides, there are chances of thunderstorm and lightening so it is better to be careful,” said IMD’s Bhubaneswar centre director, H R Biswas.

A girl student died and five others were injured in lightning strike in Pathani Samanta Engineering College in Dhenkanal district on Tuesday taking the lightning related deaths to ten during the current spell of rain in the last three days. One person was swept away in an overflowing drain after heavy showers in the city on Monday.

State Relief Commissioner (SRC) Bishnupada Sethi said, all district collectors asked to remain alert and decide whether to declare government holidays in view of rain. Water level in all rivers is currently flowing below the danger mark. Teams of NDRF, ODRAF and fire services have been put on alert for any kind of eventualities.

Due to heavy rain road communication in Kalahandi and Kandhamal districts has been disrupted. An approach road near Kantesi on NH- 26 in Kalahandi district was washed away due to heavy rains on Monday causing disruption of vehicular traffic between Bolangir and Bhawanipatna.

Bhawanipatna recorded the highest rainfall of 103 mm during 8.30 am and 5.30 pm on Tuesday followed by 42 mm in Koraput.
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