LUCKNOW: Leaving a trail of death and heavy destruction, rains and thunderstorm claimed around 70 lives and injured around 80 persons across Uttar Pradesh, especially Agra division and a few western districts, on late Wednesday night.
Around 43 lives were lost alone in Agra district where 51 persons sustained injuries during the squall. While the toll was expected to rise further, the state met department, on Thursday, predicted the possibility of another spell of a thunderstorm and gusty winds in many parts of the state in next 36 hours.
The district magistrates of areas where more rain is expected have been put on high alert.
Besides Agra, three persons died each in Bijnore in western UP and Kanpur Dehat in central. Two persons succumbed in each in Saharanpur, Kanpur Nagar, Mirzapur and Hamirpur while one each died in Bareilly, Pilibhit, Chitrakoot, Rae Bareli and Unnao, Mathura, Amroha, Banda, Sitapur, Sambhal, Etawh, Allahabad and Rampur. There was a loss of over 155 livestock reported from the state.
Taking cognizance of the destruction and loss of life, Chief minister Yogi Adityanath, who is on Karnataka campaign trail till Friday, directed the district magistrates of the badly hit districts to carry out relief and rescue operations on a war footing and provide the relief to affected people within 24 hours.
State revenue and relief commissioner, Sanjay Kumar Sharma claimed that the state government had decided to give a financial assistance of Rs 4 lakh each to the next kin of deceased, Rs 13, 000 and free of cost treatment to those injured. Moreover, those who lost the livestock and crops would be given up to Rs 30,000 as compensation. The relief commissioner said that the DMs and divisional commissioners were asked to ensure distribution of relief within 24 hours across 10 worst-hit districts.
Meanwhile, Agra DM, who was under fire for not taking adequate measures to handle the situation even while there were several alerts and warnings issued in advance, claimed that in his district about 33 per cent of the standing crop was destroyed. He even demanded Rs 3 crore from the state government to make up the losses due to squall which lasted for 90 minutes.
Power supply and train traffic were affected after a number of trees were uprooted across the state and walls collapsed because of the high-velocity winds which were blowing at a speed of 132 km per hour.
The administration was in the process of assessing the quantum of loss caused to the standing crops across the state following the weather unrest.