LUCKNOW/JAIPUR: After a major storm whipped through large parts of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday night, killing 108 people and leaving 183 others injured, the Met department on Thursday predicted another dust storm in the next 48 hours.
India Meteorological Department (IMD) additional director general Mritunjay Mohapatra said the trigger for the storm was a cyclonic circulation over Haryana. But, also responsible were a Western disturbance over north Pakistan, Jammu and Kashmir and easterly winds from the Bay of Bengal.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed sorrow over the deaths and directed officials to coordinate with the states to ensure speedy relief and rehabilitation. “Saddened by the loss of lives due to dust storms. Condolences to the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon,” the PMO tweeted quoting Modi.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who was in poll-bound Karnataka, directed officials to personally monitor relief operations and warned against any laxity. His Rajasthan counterpart Vasundhara Raje said district authorities were directed to ensure all possible help to the victims in the state.
In towns, the storm triggered traffic snarls and some trains were delayed as overhead power cables snapped. In rural areas, there were reports of crop damage due to hailstorm and of farmers losing cattle and poultry.
UP Relief Commissioner Sanjay Kumar said 160 cattle were lost in the storm which touched speeds up to 132 km/hr bringing down mud houses, uprooting trees, snapping power lines and displacing tin roofs and hoardings. As many as 70 people were killed in UP and 83 injured, while in Rajasthan 38 died and another 100 were injured in the storm that hit the region around 7 pm.
Rajasthan government said contingency funds have been released to district administrations. Family members of the dead will get Rs.4 lakh as compensation, and those injured will get between Rs.60,000 and Rs.2 lakh.
The Uttar Pradesh administration has begun an assessment of the loss caused to the standing crops across the state after the thunderstorm and rains.
Revenue and relief commissioner Sanjay Kumar Sharma said the government has 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. Adequate and immediate measures would be taken to bring relief to the affected people, said the authorities.