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Heat Wave: Death toll crosses 1300 in Andhra, Telangana

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New Delhi: People fill water from a water tanker to beat the heat on a scorching hot day in New Delhi on May 23, 2015. (Photo: Sunil Majumdar/IANS)
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Hyderabad: The heat wave sweeping across Andhra Pradesh and Telangana claimed over 200 more lives since Tuesday, taking the toll to 1,360.

Officials on Wednesday night said 157 people succumbed to sunstroke in Andhra Pradesh while 70 died in Telangana since Tuesday.

There was no respite from the blistering heat as both the states recorded temperatures three to seven degrees Celsius higher than the average.

New Delhi: People fill water from a water tanker to beat the heat on a scorching hot day in New Delhi on May 23, 2015. (Photo: Sunil Majumdar/IANS)
New Delhi: People fill water from a water tanker to beat the heat on a scorching hot day in New Delhi on May 23, 2015. (Photo: Sunil Majumdar/IANS)

Almost all the deaths were reported during the past one week.

Though Andhra Pradesh’s Deputy Chief Minister N. Chinna Rajappa had confirmed 551 deaths on Tuesday, the toll was revised later based on reports received from the districts.

Disaster management department officials said they were revising the figures after receiving confirmation from field-level officials about the deaths.

Though temperatures dropped in parts of Telangana and also in north coastal Andhra on Wednesday, both the states continued to reel under the searing heat.

The Hyderabad Meteorological Centre has warned that severe heat wave conditions may continue for another two days.

The heat wave, attributed to dry winds from the north-westerly direction, may abate after two days.

The highest temperature of 47 degrees Celsius was recorded at Jangamaheswarapuram in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday. Vijayawada, Bapatla and Machilipatnam sizzled at 46 degrees.

The mercury continued to be above 42 degrees in most parts of south coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema.

In Telangana, Nalgonda and Khammam were the hottest places on Wednesday at 46 degrees Celsius.

Poor people, especially the homeless, construction workers, rickshaw pullers and street vendors were the worst hit by the heat wave.

According to officials, the majority of the victims were the elderly and children. The Andhra Pradesh government has already announced compensation of Rs.1 lakh each for the families of the victims.

Out of 867 deaths confirmed by officials in Andhra Pradesh till Tuesday night, Prakasam district accounted for 202. Guntur (130), Visakhapatnam (112) and East Godavari (107) also bore the brunt of the heat wave.

Vijayanagaram district accounted for 78 deaths, Nellore 74, Srikakulam 40, Chittoor 29, Kadapa 22, Kurnool 17 and Anantapur 14.

In Telangana, Nalgonda district was the worst hit with 73 deaths. Khammam district accounted for 60 deaths, Mahabubnagar 32, Medak 26, Karimnagar and Adilabad 22 each, Warangal 9, Nizamabad 8 and Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy seven each.

-IANS

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Finance Minister Appeals To Insist On Bill For Every Purchase

the government would start a three-digit consumer helpline number

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Finance Minister Appeals To Insist On Bill For Every Purchase
Finance Minister Appeals To Insist On Bill For Every Purchase. Flickr

Seeking consumers’ participation in curbing tax evasion, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal on the eve of completion of one year of GST rollout on Saturday appealed to them to insist on bill for every purchase saying it would help the government check evasion and reduce tax rate on each item by as much as 4-5 per cent. He further said the government would start a three-digit consumer helpline number to enable them to lodge complaint against erring traders or any other kind of tax evasion.

Touted as the biggest indirect tax reform since Independence, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was rolled out last year on July 1. “I want to appeal to the people that they should demand a bill whenever they go to purchase any goods. If you start asking for a bill…if there’s awareness about this, then we can reduce rates by 4-5 per cent for every item (under GST),” Goyal told reporters here.

He said if any shop says that they will sell at a lower price if the consumer does not demand a bill, then the consumer should immediately file a complaint, he said. “We will soon provide a three-digit simple number which will work as a call centre where customers can complain. We will ensure full confidentiality of the complainant,” Goyal said. The endeavour will be to start the helpline number within 15-20 days, he said. A nationwide campaign too could be launched for creating consumer awareness about demanding bills for purchases made. “If everyone starts giving bill then competition will be on quality and customer service and not on ability to cheat the system,” Goyal said. He further said the government wants to reduce the burden of taxation on consumers but revenue needs to increase and support of states is also needed to cut rates where it is essential.

bills
bills owing. Flickr

With formalisation of economy, the government will have more elbow room to reduce rates, he said.

Also read: Out of Total Tax Fine of $15 billion, Apple Pays $1.77 billion to Irish Government

Goyal also assured small businesses if they face any trouble, then they can write to him and it would be resolved. He said amendments would be introduced to the GST law in monsoon session to increase composition scheme threshold from the current Rs 1 crore. The GST Council had last year decided to increase the threshold to Rs 1.5 crore and also decided to amend the law to increase the statutory threshold to Rs 2 crore. (IANS)