Cold wave hits North; UP officials deny deaths

Reports suggest toll has gone up to 130

Intense cold wave conditions in North India have affected normal life even as officials in Uttar Pradesh did not confirm deaths owing to the cold,  which has inflicted immeasurable miseries on the people.

On Saturday, the entire North India remained under the grip of cold waves while in Uttar Pradesh 11 more people succumbed to cold. Officials said six people in Barabanki district, four in Sultanpur and one in Etah district died due to cold.

Delhi continued to shiver at a minium of 2.9 degrees Celsius, four notches below normal and the maximum temperature plummeted by eight degrees below normal, to 12.6 degrees. The Met department forecasts a foggy Sunday morning for the national Capital.
Agra recorded a low of 1.1 degrees, Ghazipur 1.5, Lucknow 1.8, Gorakhpur 2.4 and Kanpur 2.7 degrees Celsius.

In Uttar Pradesh, though reports of people succumbing to the cold poured in from districts, authorities concerned have maintained that nobody has died in the cold waves so far. In their reports to the state government, almost all district magistrates denied reports of such deaths in their jurisdiction, officials said. The state government had sought response from the magistrates after reports surfaced that over 100 people have died of cold across the state. The magistrates have claimed that adequate arrangements were in place to combat cold.

Unofficial estimates suggested that around 130 people, including the aged and children, have died from cold in the state. Met officials said mercury dipped to almost one degree celsius in some places in Uttar Pradesh. In a measure to protect the children, schools have declared holidays for students till class VIII. For the rest, classes start only after 10 am.

North shivers

In Uttarakhand, districts located in the higher reaches, including Almora, Tehri Garhwal and Pithoragarh recorded sub-zero temperatures, whereas the plains remained under a cover of thick fog.

While Haldwani shivered at 2 degrees Celsius, mercury in Dehradun dropped from Friday’s 4.1 to 3.6 degrees on Saturday.

Cold wave conditions prevailed over entire Kashmir Valley, with Srinagar recording the coldest night of the season at minus 5.4 degrees Celsius. Dal Lake and other water bodies in the city were frozen due to fall in the night temperature over the past couple of days, bringing hardships to both the inhabitants and the Shikarawalas.

Gulmarg in north Kashmir was the coldest place in the Valley with a low of minus 9.4 degrees Celsius, a Met spokesperson said.

Rajasthan, too, remained in the grip of biting cold with temperature coming down to minus 1 degree at Mount Abu.

Normal life was affected in Punjab, Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh, where temperatures fell sharply by five notches below normal. Narnaul in Haryana recorded a minimum of zero degrees, five degrees below normal.  While Chandigarh shivered at 4 degrees, down by one degree below normal, Hisar recorded a minimum of 1.5 degrees, dipping by 4 notches below normal.

Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh also remained in the grip of cold, where Naogaon and Chhatarpur were the coldest places on Friday with a minimum temperature of 0.8 degree Celsius.

Foggy weather has disrupted movement of trains and air traffic. Trains have been running behind schedule by several hours, while flights have either been diverted or cancelled owing to poor visibility, officials said.

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