New Delhi, April 17 (IANS): As many as 50 people were reportedly killed and scores others injured in thunderstorms, hail and dust-storm and rain that lashed Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana since Tuesday evening.
Maximum number of deaths were reported from Rajasthan where 25 people were reported to have lost their lives in a severe thunderstorm that struck the state.
Active western disturbance over eastern Iran and neighbourhood had been moving eastward since Monday, which caused cyclonic circulation over southwest Rajasthan and its neighbourhood at lower tropospheric levels, said the Met department.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh each from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund for the families of those killed in the natural calamity.
Rajasthan Relief and Disaster Management Secretary Ashutosh A.T. Pednekar said five people died in Udaipur, four each in Jhalawad and Jaipur, two each in Bundi, Jalore and Rajsamand, and one each in Baran, Bhilwara, Alwar, Hanumangarh, Pali and Pratapgarh districts.
Winds blowing at 60 kmph blew away roofs of many houses and uprooted trees and electric poles in many parts of the state, officials said.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has announced Rs 4 lakh ex gratia for the families of deceased.
In Madhya Pradesh, 15 people died in the untimely rain and accompanying lightning on Tuesday evening. “Three persons each died in Indore, Dhar and Shajapur, two in Ratlam, and one each in Chhindwara, Rajgarh, Sehore and Alirajpur areas,” an official statement said.
Officials said pouring rain damaged properties in Bhopal, Indore, Dhar, Shajapur, Sehore, Ujjain, Ratlam, Khargone, Badwani, Chhindwara, Alirajpur and Rajgarh areas.
Extensive damage to crops has also been reported from many parts of the state.
Expressing grief over the deaths, Chief Minister Kamal Nath in a tweet assured all support to the affected families and farmers whose crop has been destroyed in the hailstorm.
In Maharashtra, 11 people were killed over the past 72 hours, besides four others last week, in thunderstorms accompanied by lightning and rain, officials said. Among the victims were nine killed by lightning between Sunday and Tuesday, and four by thunder bolts on April 4-5.
Parts of Mumbai and suburbs, Thane, Navi Mumbai and Palghar received showers on Sunday-Monday. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Wednesday forecast thunderstorms with lightning and strong winds at various places in Nanded, Latur and Osmanabad.
In Gujarat, according to unofficial reports, 12 people died in the rain, hailstorm and dust-storm that hit the state towards Tuesday evening. Maximum loss of life and property was reported from the Saurashtra and north Gujarat regions.
Meanwhile, a report from Chandigarh said standing wheat crop was damaged after rain, dust-storm and strong winds lashed Punjab and Haryana on Tuesday-Wednesday. Harvesting of wheat is on for the past 10 days in most parts of the two states.
The Punjab government has ordered special survey to assess the crop damage.
According to the Met department on Wednesday evening, the Western Disturbance, which caused severe weather over major parts of northwest India and adjoining central India on Wednesday, has further moved eastwards. The resultant reduction in moisture incursion from the Arabian Sea is likely to weaken the intensity of the system from Thursday.
However, fairly widespread to widespread rainfall with isolated thunderstorms, lightning and gusty winds (speed reaching 40-50 kmph) are likely over Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh & Delhi, northeast Rajasthan, UP, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand during next 24 hours.
Isolated thunder-squall and hail-storms are likely over East MP and north Chhattisgarh during next 24 hours. Thundersqualls are also likely over Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam, Meghalaya and Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram & Tripura during the period.