New Delhi : People in parts of north India Wednesday got some relief from the bone-chilling winds of last few days but the early morning fog continued to disrupt train services. In Uttar Pradesh, the deaths from the cold rose to 105.
In Uttar Pradesh, over 40 people have died in the last two days in cold wave, taking the toll to 105. According to reports, temperatures touched the season’s lowest in certain areas, making life difficult for pavement dwellers.
At least 50 inbound and outbound trains from Delhi were running eight hours behind schedule while a Delhi-bound Rajdhani Express from Bhubaneshwar was cancelled because of fog.
Visibility fell to about 350 metres in the morning in Delhi but the fog cleared and the sun shone bright as the day progressed. The minimum temperature was recorded a notch below teh season’s average at 6.8 degrees Celsius.
A railway official said that as a precautionary measure, 28 trains have been cancelled till Jan 31 due to dense fog that prevails during the period across north India.
In Chandigarh also, skies opened up to a bright and sunny day after last few days of haze. Many people were seen basking in the sun outside their homes, in parks and green belts.
However, thick fog continued to affect life, particularly throwing road and railway traffic out of gear, in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana.
Temperatures rose in parts of Rajasthan with Mount Abu recording a minimum of 2.4 degrees Celsius, an increase of 0.4 degree from Tuesday, and Jaipur settling at 9.1 degrees, an increase of 2.7 degrees.
However, Jharkhand continued to reel under the intense cold wave where 33 people have died.
The government has provided Rs.500,000 to all 24 districts to arrange bonfires at key intersections of roads in towns and villages. Blankets are also being distributed by NGOs to the poor and the homeless.
In Ranchi, the minimum temperature dropped to 6.2 degrees Celsius while Kanke town was the coldest place in the state at 2.2 degrees.
Officials in Lucknow said special temporary shelters with bonfires were being set up along roadsides in the capital city and other major cities and towns of Uttar Pradesh as the cold wave pushed deaths to 105 across the state.
However, the sun suddenly broke through the grey sky in the afternoon and brought some respite to the people.
“About 33 deaths were reported from in and around Kanpur while seven people had frozen to death in and around Bahraich, which recorded the lowest temperature at 3.9 degrees and a maximum of just 10.9,” an official told IANS in Lucknow.
Up north, hills of Himachal Pradesh continued to witness snowfall. Shimla was at its coldest of this season with the minimum temperature settling at two degrees.
Kalpa in Kinnaur district saw a low of minus 4.2 degrees while it was minus one in Manali and 4.7 in Dharamsala.
Jammu and Kashmir saw the onset of 40-day ‘Chillai Kala’, traditionally known as the severest period of winter.
The minimum temperature in Srinagar was 0.8 degree while the city received 4.3 cm of rain. Leh town was the coldest in the state with the mercury falling to 12 degrees below the freezing point. Kargil town of Ladakh region recorded a minimum of minus 8.0 degrees.