Cold claims 3 lives in UP, toll rises to 38, more snow in HP

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New Delhi, Dec 14 (UNI) Intense cold conditions in Uttar Pradesh claimed three more lives overnight taking the nationwide death toll to 38 as Himachal Pradesh experienced fresh snowfall and rains lashed isolated places in Punjab and Haryana .

The fresh deaths were reported from Badaun, Kaushambi and Kanpur districts of UP while chilly winds blew across the state capital, gripped by dense fog during the early hours.

The State government also released Rs six crore for distributing blankets to the poor in each tehsil. The ex-gratia being given to families of victims was hiked from Rs 50,000 to Rs one lakh.

The met office said the night temperature at several divisons of the state, including Bareilly, Allahabad, Varanasi and Agra had plunged in the last 24 hours. The Taj City was the coldest recording a minimum temperature of 9 degrees Celsius. Intense cold accompanied by fog has also abbected rail and road services in the state.

In Gujarat a 25-year-old beggar died of cold at Bharkot area of Veraval in Junagadh district yesterday as cold wave continued to grip the Saurashtra-Kutch region.

Nalia in Kutch district was the coldest town in the region registering a minimum temperature of 5.8 degrees, Rajkot 10.8 degrees, Amreli 10.2 degrees and Bhuj 11.5 degrees.

In Rajasthan Mount Abu, the only hill station, remained the coldest place in the state recording zero followed by Pilani 3.3 and Churu at 4.5 degrees.

The 300-km-long Srinagar-Jammu national highway was reopened on both ways after further improvement in the weather and clearance of accumulated snow on the road. It was decided to allow only light vehicles for Jammu.

In Jammu and Kashmir the minimum temperature at most places was below normal with Jammu recording at 7.8, Udhampur 3.4 and Srinagar -0.6 degrees.

People in north-west India shivered under cold conditions following another spell of snowfall in Himachal Pradesh and rain at isolated places in the plains today.

In Punjab the border town of Pathankot turned out to be the coldest place with minimum temperture of 5 degrees while certain areas of the state including Ludhiana, Nangal, Balachour and Mukerian, were lashed by rain overnight.

The minimum temperature at Adampur airbase near Jalandhar fell to 6.4 degrees while Amritsar recorded at 6.4, Halwara airbase, near Ludhiana at 6 degrees. The minimum temperature hovered at around 9.9 at Chandigarh, while Ambala in Haryana recorded 9.8 degrees.

Himachal Pradesh experienced intense cold wave following moderate to heavy snowfall in the higher reaches and widespread rains in the lower areas of the state overnight.

Shimla and its adjoining areas experienced snowfall last night.

Upper areas of Shimla district, including tourist places of Kufri and Narkanda, and the key tourist reosort of Manali in Kullu district also had snowfall.

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