New Delhi: Dust storm and heavy rain have claimed 34 more lives in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, taking the death toll in the two States to 57 on Saturday.

High velocity winds and heavy downpour since Friday uprooted hoardings, trees, electric and telephone poles disrupting communication links, traffic flow, power supply and rail services in several parts of the States.

According to a report from Bhabhua in Bihar, 12 deaths were reported from Kaimur, followed by four from Nalanda, two each from Gaya, Nawada and Rohtas.

A thunderstorm accompanied by rain on Friday lashed Patna, Saran, Muzaffarpur, Gaya, Jehanabad, Jamui, Munger, Darbhanga, East Champaran, West Champaran, Kaimur and Rohtas districts causing widespread damage to houses and crops , official sources said.

Power supply and telephones were disrupted while rail traffic was affected in large parts of the State.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has announced ex-gratia of Rs 1.5 lakh, including Rs 50000 from CM's Relief Fund to the next of kin of each who died in the storm.

He asked the district authorities and State Disaster Management department to intensify relief and rescue measures.

Mr. Kumar spoke to Union Minister for Science and Technology Prithvi Raj Chouhan and urged him to depute a team of experts to strengthen the meteorological office here.

Meanwhile, the squall claimed 21 lives in UP, taking the toll to 35 from Friday's 14 in the State.

Barring Rajasthan, the maximum temperature in most parts of North India stayed below normal, a day after dust storm accompanied by downpour lashed the region. While Ambala in Haryana recorded a maximum temperature of 36.1 degrees C, down two notches, Chandigarh recorded 34.6, three degrees below normal. - PTI

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