JAIPUR: A powerful dust storm hit Rajasthan's Alwar, Dholpur and Bharatpur districts, killing 31 people and injuring another 100, officials said.
The storm, which lashed at a speed of 100 km per hour on Wednesday night, uprooted trees, severed telephone, power and water supply links and brought down houses.
State Disaster Management Minister Gulabchand Kataria called an emergency meeting here and confirmed that 16 persons were killed in Bharatpur, 10 in Dhaulpur and five in Alwar.
For the first time in the state, a storm has been included under the category of natural disaster and funds to the tune of Rs 2.5 crore have been sanctioned for each district, Kataria said.
The exact level of damage in Alwar, Jhunjhunu and Bikaner was yet to be confirmed, said officials.
Bharatpur's Additional District Magistrate O.P. Jain told IANS: "We are making all efforts to ensure that the injured are given medical aid.
"We have prioritized restoration work so that drinking water and electricity get restored."
Dhaulpur Additional District Magistrate Harphool Yadav said 10 people in the district have lost their lives. "Quick response teams have been deployed since last night."
A senior official in Alwar told IANS that rescuers were still trying to reach out to people to know the exact level of damage. As phone connections have been severed, it is difficult to contact the interiors.
Yadav said that some 200 people were stuck in village Lebdapura Basedi after their houses were gutted in a fire.
Several electrical poles came down, disrupting power supply. The falling trees and electric poles caused the maximum accidents, leaving almost 100 people injured, Yadav said.
Both Bharatpur and Alwar were without power through the night.
Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia tweeted to officers on Thursday to help the injured.
"Distressed after storm in Alwar, Bharatpur and Dholpur. I have asked the district authorities to ensure every possible help to treat all the injured. My condolences to families of those who have lost their lives."
Former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot put his birthday celebrations on hold Thursday in the wake of the disaster.
The Met department said the storm condition would continue till Saturday. It would be stormy in Jhunjhunu, Jaipur and Sikar on Thursday.