New Delhi: At least 60 people were killed by lightning in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan as parts of these states witnessed scattered rainfall on Sunday. Eleven of them died while taking selfies in front of a 12th century fort in Rajasthan capital Jaipur.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed his deepest condolences over the deaths – his office has announced compensation from the PM relief fund for the families of those killed. The state governments of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh have also announced compensations of ₹ 5 lakh each to the affected families.
Forty-one of these deaths were reported in Uttar Pradesh; 14 were killed in Prayagraj. A majority of deaths were reported in rural areas across the state. Most of them were children and women.
“As per info available, 41 people died due to lightning strikes across 16 districts, 30 injured. ₹ 4 Lakhs ex-gratia each will be provided to kin of the deceased. All the injured will get proper medical treatment. 250 animals died, 20 injured,” UP Relief Commissioner Ranvir Prasad was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has announced financial help for those who lost their livestock in rain-related incidents.
In Rajasthan, a visit to Amer Fort near Jaipur turned fatal for eleven as lightning struck them while they were taking selfies on top of a watch tower in front of the 12th century monument. The lightning – captured on mobile cameras – was so powerful that dozens of people panicked and jumped off the watch tower. A number of them sustained injuries, according to reports. Twenty-seven people are reported to have been on the watch tower and the fort wall when the incident happened.
Apart from the incident at Amer Fort, nine more such deaths were reported from across the state on Sunday. Seven of those killed were children.
“At least 23 people died and 25 injured due to lightning strikes in the State till July 11,” Kalpana Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, Rajasthan Disaster Management, told ANI.
The Southwest Monsoon has reached almost all parts of the country but parts of north India. It has yet to reach Delhi and neighbouring states of Haryana, parts of west Uttar Pradesh and west Rajasthan.
“The conditions continue to remain favourable for further advance of southwest monsoon over Delhi, remaining parts of west Uttar Pradesh, some more parts of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan during the next 24 hours,” the India Meteorological Department or IMD said in its latest statement.
The prediction came after several instances this season when the weather department got its monsoon forecast for Delhi and nearby regions wrong, leaving the area high and dry.
Experts point out that the difficulty in predicting the outcomes of the interactions between the easterly and westerly winds were some of the major reasons behind the IMD’s monsoon forecast for parts of north India going haywire.