Torrential rains lashed northern India over the past three days, with at least 14 people being killed in Rajasthan on Sunday and Monday.
Heavy rains disrupted life in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh but agricultural scientists said they would prove beneficial for paddy farmers.
Most of the people who died in Rajasthan were struck by lightning. The deaths took place in Chittorgarh, Sirohi, Alwar and Jalore districts in southern and eastern parts of the state.
In Punjab, at least 22 trains, including two Shatabdi Expresses from New Delhi to Chandigarh and Amritsar, were halted at various stations due to flooding of tracks, said a senior railway officer in Ambala.
Water logging and delay of flights were reported from Chandigarh airport.
Four people died in rain-related incidents in Haryana's Ambala where a breach in Tangri river led to flooding of the town and 12 villages with up to five feet water.
From June 1 till July 6, Punjab and Haryana received 3 per cent and 14 per cent more rainfall than normal, respectively. But the rains were particularly heavy over the past two days.
B.S. Sidhu, Punjab’s director of agriculture, said, “These rains are very good for the paddy crop. Only in 2008 did we receive such a good rainfall. Only concern is that Samrala and other low-lying areas have been flooded. But overall, these rains are beneficial.”
Said Surender Paul, director of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) in Chandigarh: “The rains in Punjab are concentrated more in SAS Nagar, Rupnagar, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur and Nawashahar. south-western Punjab has received less rainfall.”
Paul said that over the next 36 hours, there were chances of the rains continuing in the region, with heavy downpours in certain pockets. “After that the monsoon activity may decrease for a while,” he said.
The IMD director in Shimla, Manmohan Singh, told HT that on Tuesday the rains were equally distributed across Himachal Pradesh and that there were chances of the rains continuing in all parts of the state over the next 24 hours.