Lightning strikes — electric discharges between the atmosphere and the ground — have killed no fewer than 2,800 people in the last 11 years in Bangladesh, according to government data.

The government is planning to launch a project at a cost of Tk476 crore to save people from the deadly natural phenomenon and reduce the toll, State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Dr Md Enamur Rahman told a press conference at the secretariat on Tuesday.

Under the project, the government will buy devices that will give a warning 40 minutes before a lightning strikes, he said.

In addition, shelters will be set up to avoid fatalities during lightning strikes.

Rahman said Bangladesh suffers from 16 categories of disasters at present. Lightning strike was added to the list in 2015.

"In some modern countries, there are early warning systems for lightning strikes, like cyclone warnings. There are devices that can detect them 40 minutes in advance and identify where they will occur. We will install such devices around the country," he said.

The authorities will give priority to lightning-prone areas, the state minister said, adding that his ministry will start working on a system so that locals can receive alerts via text messages.

The government is also planning to build lightning shelters, much like flood or cyclone shelters, he mentioned. There will be pucca houses on one decimal of land and each house will have a lightning arrester.

The project has already been formulated and Dhaka University has been tasked with conducting the feasibility study, the state minister added.

"Afterwards, we will send the feasibility report to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for approval. We will start our work once she gives her nod," he told reporters.