Lucknow/Jaipur:A high-intensity dust storm hit parts of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, killing 72 people and injuring around 138 people injured.
In UP, the overnight dust storm left 45 people dead and 38 injured, an official said on Thursday.
Agra district was the worst hit, accounting for 36 deaths and injuries to 35 others.
“As per figures received till noon, 45 people were killed and 38 injured in the dust storm in different parts of UP,” Relief Commissioner Sanjay Kumar told PTI here.
Other districts affected were Bijnor, Bareli, Saharanpur, Pilibhit, Firozabad, Chitrakoot, Muzaffarnagar, Rae Bareli and Unnao.
Three persons died in Bijnor, two in Saharanpur and one each in Bareilly, Chitrakoot, Raebareli and Unnao districts, he said.
Taking note of the havoc caused by the dust storm, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed officers concerned to personally monitor relief operations and provide all necessary medical facilities to the affected.
He also said that no laxity would be tolerated in providing succour to the needy.
“Chief Secretary Rajive Kumar has spoken to Commissioner Agra division and directed him that relief be distributed by the evening and senior officers visit the injured in hospitals,” Principal Secretary, Information, Avanish Awasthi said.
A number of houses collapsed and electricity poles and trees got uprooted as the severe dust storm swept Agra division.
“We have sought a detailed report from the affected districts,” the Relief Commissioner said, adding that 156 cattle heads also perished in the calamity.
Meanwhile, 27 people were killed and nearly 100 injured as a high-intensity squall followed by thunder showers hit parts of Rajasthan overnight leaving a trail of destruction, an official said on Thursday.
Houses collapsed and electricity poles and trees were uprooted as the severe dust storm swept the Matysya region.
“So far, 27 people have died due to the disaster–12 in Bharatpur, 10 in Dholpur and five in Alwar. The squall was reported mainly in three districts,” Secretary, Disaster Management and Relief, Hemant Kumar Gera, told PTI. Two of those killed in Dholpur were from Agra in Uttar Pradesh.
He said nearly 100 were injured in the disaster. Twenty were injured in Alwar, 32 in Bharatpur and 50 in Dholpur.
“A few are undergoing primary treatment while others were discharged. One critical patient from Dholpur was referred to Jaipur,” he said.
A detailed report of the disaster is awaited even as relief and rescue teams had been pressed into service to clear debris and restore power supply, he said.
Gera said contingency funds had been released to the respective district administrations. He said Rs 4 lakh would be given to family members of deceased, Rs 2 lakh to persons sustaining 60 per cent injuries and Rs 60,000 to people with 40 to 50 per cent injuries.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje expressed grief over the calamity and said authorities concerned in the districts had been directed to ensure all possible help to victims. “Condolence for families who lost their loved ones,” she said on Twitter.
In view of the calamity, Congress National General Secretary Ashok Gehlot cancelled his birthday celebrations at his official residence in Jaipur. “We are extremely grieved at the loss of lives in the state and stand with the victims in this hour of tragedy. I cancel all celebrations at my residence. Blood donation camps and Janhit programmes can be continued by organisers,” he said.