Power cuts were among the factors responsible for worsening of health conditions of the patients who died at the district hospital in Ballia last week, an Uttar Pradesh health department official has said, PTI reported on Wednesday.

“The power supply in rural pockets of the district was disrupted,” said AK Singh, one of the members of the committee sent to the district by the state government to ascertain the cause of deaths. “Transformers were burnt out. The condition of the people worsened due to non-availability of electricity and other factors.”

Singh added that it took five to six hours for the patient to reach the district hospital due to which they died within an hour of being admitted.

Seventy-six people have died in the district hospital in Balia since June 15 as several parts of Uttar Pradesh reeled under a heatwave, according to PTI. Widespread power cuts were also reported across the state, worsening the situation. The state’s peak power demand has surpassed 25,000 megawatts, according to The Hindu.

For the plains, a heatwave is declared when the maximum temperature goes up to 40 degrees Celsius or more and is at least 4.5 degrees above normal.

However, the authorities have said there was no solid evidence to show that extreme heat was the cause of the deaths in Ballia. The city’s Chief Medical Officer Jayant Kumar had said that only two of the deaths were due to the heatwave.

The deaths had made headlines over the weekend after Diwakar Singh, the chief medical superintendent of the hospital, was removed from his post for citing heatwave as the reason. The state government said that Singh had given a “careless statement without proper information”

Ensure uninterrupted electricity supply at health facilities: Centre tells states

The Centre on Wednesday urged states battling heat waves to ensure uninterrupted electricity supply at health facilities.

Union Minister of Health Mansukh Mandaviya told officials from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Telangana to install solar panels and cool green roofs, window shading and shades at the health centres.

At a meeting with the state officials, the health minister also highlighted the lack of accurate information from the ground and urged the states to share field-level data on heatwaves, including deaths and hospitalisations.

Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai, who was also present in the meeting, said that the data helps in making a realistic assessment of the situation. He also urged the states to take action as soon as alerts are issued by the India Meteorological Department.

“Timely, advanced and wide awareness among the people on the preventive measures will hugely support in reducing the severe impact of such heat waves,” he said.