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North reels under intense cold; toll 135

THE HARSHEST winter in living memory numbed the northern belt with Delhi touching a 70-year low of 0.2 degrees Celsius and towns in Rajasthan posting sub-zero temperatures as 13 more people perished due to the cold and pushed the death toll to 135 today.

india Updated: Jan 09, 2006 12:24 IST

THE HARSHEST winter in living memory numbed the northern belt with Delhi touching a 70-year low of 0.2 degrees Celsius and towns in Rajasthan posting sub-zero temperatures as 13 more people perished due to the cold and pushed the death toll to 135 today.

Parts of northern and northeastern Madhya Pradesh also reeled under severe cold wave, including Gwalior and Chambal region, Bhopal, Indore and Khajuraho. Khajuraho recorded the lowest of 3 degree Celsius in Madhya Pradesh.
Icy north-westerlies continued to buffet the region and the cold wave cut a swath into West Bengal, which reported its first cold-related death in Murshidabad district.

Extreme weather conditions forced the Delhi government to close primary schools as well as primary sections of high schools till Wednesday, while schools in Karnal, Meerut and Muzaffarnagar have been ordered shut till Thursday.

The national capital last felt a colder day on January 16, 1935, when the mercury read minus 0.6. Two persons died overnight due to the cold in Gorakhpur in UP and one each died in Varanasi, Kaushambi, Hardoi, Jhansi, Faridabad and Sultanpur, official reports said.

A middle-aged man was found dead in Hoshiarpur district of Punjab and central rehabilitation coordination committee set up by a confederation of NGOs for quake-hit people in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir claimed that three women succumbed due to the intense cold in Noorkah and Niloosa villages over the past few days.

Relief commissioner Bashir Ahmad Runiyal rejected the claim and said the women were aged and died of natural causes. He said they were staying in their partially damaged houses, which had better resources than the sheds set up for earthquake relief.

So far, 107 people have died due to the cold wave in Uttar Pradesh, 18 in Punjab, 4 in Haryana, 3 in Jammu and Kashmir, 2 in Rajasthan and one in West Bengal.

The minimum temperature dipped to minus two degrees in Srinagar last night where the famous Dal Lake almost froze, raising the possibility of the famous lake freezing completely for the third time after 1964 and 1986 respectively.

First Published: Jan 09, 2006 12:24 IST