53 dead in 4 states as rain, thunderstorm wreak havoc

JAIPUR/BHOPAL/AHMEDABAD: A total of 53 persons were killed as rain coupled with thunderstorm and lightning hit several parts of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra overnight, officials said today.

53 dead in 4 states as rain, thunderstorm wreak havoc

Motorists on a flooded road after heavy rains at Nagercoil in Kanyakumari on Wednesday. PTI

editorial@tribune.com

Jaipur/Bhopal/Ahmedabad, April 17

A total of 53 persons were killed as rain coupled with thunderstorm and lightning hit several parts of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra overnight, officials said today.

The unseasonal rains and storm also caused damage to property and crops in Gujarat and Rajasthan. Rajasthan witnessed the maximum casualties with 25 people killed in rain-related incidents, followed by Madhya Pradesh (15), Gujarat (10) and Maharashtra (3).

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to twitter to express anguish over the loss of lives in the rains in Gujarat and announced relief.

Soon afterwards, Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath hit out at the PM, accusing him of being concerned only about his home state.

The PMO in a tweet later said: “PM @narendramodi has expressed grief at loss of lives due to unseasonal rains and storms in MP, Rajasthan, Manipur & various parts of the country. An ex gratia of Rs2 lakh each for the next of kin of those who lost their lives in MP, Rajasthan, Manipur & various parts of the country has been approved from the PM’s National Relief Fund. Rs50,000 each for the injured has also been approved.”

Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the government was closely monitoring the situation in rain-hit areas and was ready to provide all possible help.

Ashutosh Pednekar, Rajasthan Principal Secretary of State Disaster and Relief Department, said five persons died in Udaipur, four each in Jaipur and Jhalawar, two each in Jalore, Bundi and Rajsamand, and one each in Baran, Bhilwara, Alwar, Pali, Hanumangarh and Pratapgarh.

Compensation of Rs4 lakh each has been announced for the families of victims. Another official said damage to crops was being assessed.

CM Ashok Gehlot tweeted: “Deeply pained by loss of lives due to unseasonal rains and storms in various parts of the country, including Rajasthan. My thoughts and prayers are with bereaved families. I pray for the speedy recovery of those injured”.

The department has predicted storm accompanied with high velocity winds and lightning at a few places in the next 24 hours.

In MP, rains claimed three lives each in Indore, Dhar and Shajapur, two in Ratlam and one each in Alirajpur, Rajgarh, Sehore and Chhindwara districts. Nath expressed grief over the deaths and charged that Modi’s concerns were limited to his home state Gujarat.

“Modiji, you are the PM of the country and not of Gujarat. In MP also, more than 10 persons were killed. But you have confined your feelings to Gujarat. Though your party has no government here, people live here also,” Nath said in a tweet. The BJP accused Nath of doing politics over the loss caused.

Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani announced Rs2 lakh each to the kin of the deceased. In Maharashtra, a 71-year-old woman, a 32-year-old man and a temple priest died when lightning struck them. — OC/PTI

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