Thunderstorm leaves trail of destruction in Taj city

Thunderstorm leaves trail of destruction in Taj city

"The wind was blowing at a frightening speed. To add to the misery, lights went off. For once, I thought the doomsday forecast of the Christian evangelist was here, only a few hours late!" said Sudhir Gupta of Vijay Nagar colony.

The private discom Torrent had a horrifying time responding to complaints of disruption in power supply from all parts of the city Saturday. A tree had crashed on the power line at Subhash Park.

Two employees of the Torrent company were seriously injured when the transformer they were repairing fell down. They were admitted to a private nursing home in critical condition.

Some of the worst sufferers, according to preliminary reports, were farmers cultivating melons and other summer crops on the Yamuna river bed. "Sand was blown off and covered the plants, resembling a scene from a desert," said Surendra Singh of Kachchpura village behind the Taj Mahal.

The squall came suddenly around 11.30 p.m. and within minutes the whole city was enveloped in a thick layer of dust, said Shravan Singh, a resident who was on his way back from Delhi.

"At Mathura, the dust storm reduced visibility to almost zero. I could see the roof tops of tin sheds flying and trees that had fallen," Singh said. On Saturday, the maximum temperature was 36.8 degrees Celsius and the minimum was 27.1 degrees.

"The showers were heavy and some low-lying areas were inundated. The corporation safai karamcharis are still busy cleaning up the drains. Two days ago they had scooped out silt from the nullahs and piled up on the roads. Now all that has gone back into the drains. More work and more money for the thekedaars," said activist Ravi.

Senior police officials said Sunday morning, "We are still collecting information on the extent of damage caused by the storm. Reports are coming in from all parts of the district."

At least 42 people were killed and 50 others injured in thunderstorms and lightning that struck various parts of Uttar Pradesh Saturday.