Tuesday, January 9, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Fog hits air, rail traffic
Trains, flights rescheduled

NEW DELHI, Jan 8 (UNI) After four days of clear skies, fog struck again today forcing cancellations, diversions and over five-hour delays in international and domestic flight operations and disruption of trains here today.

From 4.07 a m to 11.55 am, all landing and take-off operations came to a halt at Indira Gandhi international airport as visibility began falling to less than 100 metres from 3.30 a m, an airport official said.

Heavy fog in north India disrupted rail operations also with several major trains, including the Howrah Rajdhani, Kailash Vishwanath express and Mumbai Rajdhani, being rescheduled.

At 4 a m, the runway visibility range (RVR) was 800 metres and an hour later it had deteriorated to 100 metres. The airport began low visibility procedures at 3.26 am.

The airport official said the last international arrival was at 4.07 a m, an air-India flight, while the last international departure was at 3.21 am, the Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt, before the fog disrupted air traffic.

The Indian airlines said it operated its flight today at 12 noon to Leh while the first to land was the service from Mumbai at noon. The domestic carrier had to cancel its flight to Kathmandu and another from Mumbai late last night. No flights were diverted, an official said.

The Jet airways cancelled four flights Delhi-Srinagar, Delhi-Chandigarh, Guwahati-Bagdogra-Guwahati and Varanasi-Khajuraho-Varanasi. Its Mumbai-Delhi flight was diverted to Lucknow and Chennai-Delhi service to Jaipur. It too operated its first flight to Mumbai at 12 noon, an airline official said.

The airport official said after visibility became normal and up to late afternoon, 10 international departures and 14 international arrivals had been speedily carried out. The airport also operated 23 domestic departures and 12 arrivals.

A northern railway press note said the trains rescheduled were the Howrah Rajdhani from 5 pm to 6.30 pm, Poorva express from 4.15 pm to 5.15 pm, Bhuvaneshwar Rajdhani express from 5.15 pm to 6 pm, Kashi Vishwanath express from 1.30 pm to 3.30 pm, Mumbai Rajdhani express from 4 pm to 4.50 pm, Howrah Janta express from 3.30 pm to 4.50 pm and Gondwana express from 2.30 pm to 6.50 pm today.

Meanwhile, death toll due to severe cold wave in north India continues to mount with more than 150 persons succumbing to the chill even as no respite has been forecast for the next 24 hours.

Of the 157 deaths, 82 were reported from Bihar, 54 from Uttar Pradesh, 10 from Delhi, five from Chandigarh, three from Gujarat, two from Punjab and one from Himachal Pradesh.

Official reports said at least nine persons died in Patna district, five in Begusarai, 20 in Vaishali, 18 in Nawada, 10 in Gaya, 15 in Nalanda, four in Saran district and one in Gopalganj.

The Patna district administration had announced closure of all government and private schools till January 14. A 55-year-old rickshaw puller succumbed to intense cold in the Chamanganj locality of Kanpur yesterday.


Amritsar shivers at 1.1C; cold wave death toll 8

CHANDIGARH, Jan 8 (UNI) People in and around the border district of Amritsar today braved the seasons coldest morning with mercury dipping to 1.1C as the cold wave swept across northwest unrelented under dense fog and icy winds conditions for the past one week now.

The battering cold wave has already claimed eight lives, five in the city, two in Punjab and one in Himachal Pradesh.

The minimum temperatures further dipped by three to four degrees below normal during the past 24 hours in the region following fresh spells of snowfall in neighbouring Himachal Pradesh and its adjoining areas of Jammu and Kashmir.

Dense fog right from Jammu to Delhi and the adjoining areas of Uttar Pradesh today again disrupted normal schedule of road, rail and air services in the region. Most of the trains on the Delhi-Chandigarh-Kalka, Delhi-Amritsar and Ambala- Saharanpur sections of Northern Railway ran well behind schedule because of the poor visibility caused by the heavy fog. These included the prestigious Shatabadi Express, Himalayan Queen, and the Howrah-Kalka Mail.

Vehicular traffic till around noon moved at a snails pace with headlights of vehicles on.

People in and around Srinagar, summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, groaned under the sub-zero temperature of 5C, three degrees below normal, stated to be the lowest this winter. The forward areas, including Leh, reported minus 10C.

Shimla and upper parts of the district had the coldest night of the season with the temperature dipping to 0C, two degrees below normal.

While Amritsar at 1.1 C was three degrees below normal, Patiala recorded 4.9 C, two degrees below normal, and Jalandhar experienced 5.5 C, a degree below normal.

In Haryana, the minimum temperature was three degrees below normal in Ambala which dipped to 4.2 C, Hisar was colder at 3.9 C, a degree below normal, while Rohtak recorded 4 C.

The city and its surrounding areas of Punjab and Haryana were also hit by the minimum of three degrees below normal with 3.8 C. The national capital recorded a minimum of 4.4 C, three degrees below normal.

Shimla at 0.4 C experienced severe cold where the temperature fell two degrees below normal.

Bhunter reeled under sub-zero temperature with minus 0.7C, which was also two degrees below normal. Una recorded minus 1.5C.

The weather office here warn of ground frost during the next two nights at a few places in Punjab, Haryana and in and around Chandigarh.

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