New Delhi: The fury of unseasonal rain in different states of north and east India since Sunday evening has left at least seven people dead and damaged standing crops in thousands of hectares, officials said on Monday. In Bihar, at least five people, including two children and a woman, were killed on Monday when they were struck by lightning in two separate incidents, officials said.
Three deaths – of the children and the woman – were reported from two villages in Munger district, while the other two people were killed in Ramnagri Diyara under Barh in Patna district. Heavy rains, accompanied by strong winds, uprooted trees, damaged houses and brought down power cables across the state. Weather department officials said that the rainfall was unseasonal.
In Uttar Pradesh, at least two people were killed in lightning strikes in Agra district and two others were reportedly electrocuted in Firoazabad and Agra districts as the widespread rain, accompanied by thunder and lightning, flattened standing crops.
The weather changed abruptly in western Uttar Pradesh on Sunday evening as unseasonal rain, accompanied by lightning and thunder, lashed the region. Earlier in March, the area had received more than 80 mm of rainfall, which caused considerable damage to crops. In Punjab and Haryana, the food grain states, rainfall and high velocity winds damaged more standing crops in various parts in the past 24 hours, officials said in Chandigarh on Monday. Many parts of Punjab were slashed by high velocity winds and sharp rain.
A central team headed by union Food and Public Distribution Minister Ram Vilas Paswan and Minister of State for Agriculture Sanjeev Kumar Balyan will visit Chandigarh on Tuesday to assess the damage to crops in the region, said a spokesman of the agriculture department.
The team will interact with ministers and senior officers of revenue and disaster management, power, development and panchayats, agriculture, cooperation, animal husbandry and dairying, food and supplies, irrigation and other departments.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said on Monday that the state government has already ordered special ‘girdawri’ (field assessment) to assess the crop loss of farmers due to the freak weather. He said the state government has also sought Rs.500 crore interim reliefs from the Centre to compensate farmers for their losses.
In Himachal Pradesh, various areas were slashed by thundershowers while the upper reaches experienced snow on Monday, causing the temperatures to drop sharply. Shimla, which recorded a low of 8.2 degrees Celsius, experienced rain and hailstorm.
The majestic Dhauladhar ranges near Dharamsala wore a fresh blanket of snow, as did the nearby hills of picturesque tourist resort Manali. High-altitude areas of Lahaul and Spiti, Chamba, Kullu, Kinnaur, Sirmaur and Shimla districts have experienced moderate snow,” a Met official said.