Nine more deaths were reported from various districts of Bihar, taking the toll in the thunderstorm and rains that lashed the state to 17.

Official sources said eight deaths were reported from Kaimur, followed by four from Nalanda, two each from Gaya and Nawada and one in Rohtas.

Thunderstorm accompanied by rains lashed Patna, Saran, Muzaffarpur, Gaya, Jehanabad, Jamui, Munger, Darbhanga, East Champaran, West Champaran, Kaimur and Rohtas districts yesterday causing widespread damages to houses, crops and uprooting hundreds of trees, the sources said.

Power supply and BSNL connectivity were disrupted and rail traffic affected in large parts of Bihar.

This was the second storm in the state in a span of a month. Last month, 93 people were killed and thousands of huts destroyed when a tornado hit Araria, Purnia, Kishanganj, Katihar and Supaul in Seemanchal belt in Bihar last month.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced an ex-gratia of Rs 1.5 lakh, including Rs 50000 from CM Relief Fund to the kin of each dead in the storm.

He asked the district authorities and state disaster management department to intensify relief and rescue measures in the affected areas.

He spoke to Union Minister for Science and Technology Prithvi Raj Chouhan and asked him to depute a team of experts to study the weather pattern in the state and take steps to strengthen the meteorological office here.

Bihar, Kumar said, has been facing natural calamities one after another and this time the intensity of the storm was so strong that a bus overturned and goods trains wagons derailed. PTI AJK KK DV 05080921

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