Monsoon entered two north Bengal districts on Wednesday, but a continuing heat wave in the rest of the state killed at least 50 people, taking the death toll to more than 100 in the last three days.
The West Bengal government, however, has not officially acknowledged the death toll. The southwest monsoon, after covering almost the entire northeast, reached Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar districts. But the Met office did not say when the south Bengal districts — where most of the deaths have been reported — would get relief from the intense heat spell.
Rains lashed a few places, but Kolkata — where temperature has shot up to 40°C — had to be content with just a few drops. This is the worst heat spell Kolkata has seen in more than a century. On May 28, 1908, Kolkata had recorded 43.7°C, the highest so far.
Conditions for the monsoon’s progress are not ripe and it would be stagnant over the next three days, said a Met official. “We won’t be able to predict when monsoon will hit Kolkata or south Bengal districts. We will have to wait till the monsoon current gathers momentum again,” said GC Debnath, director of the Indian Meteorological Department’s regional office in Kolkata.
He said the mercury level would hover around 39-40°C along with high humidity.
Neighbouring Odisha too continued to reel under the heat wave. Capital Bhubaneswar recorded 46.6 degrees Celsius, a day after enduring its hottest day at 46.7 degrees Celsius.
The Odisha government has received reports of 123 deaths from across the state in the heat wave, but confirmed 30.
In Rajasthan, heat wave continued to mar normal life in most parts.
Jharkhand — where the official death toll in the heat wave has reached six, while the unofficial figure is 21 — saw Bokaro steel city record 46.7°C.
Maximum temperature in Punjab and Haryana dropped below 40°C after pre-monsoon showers.