Fog causes many road mishaps, delays air and rail traffic

Chandigarh: Cold conditions continued unabated in most parts of Punjab and Haryana claiming two lives while a thick fog engulfing most of the northern region resulted in a number of road mishaps besides causing delays in air and rail traffic on Saturday.

Ludhiana in Punjab, which recorded a minimum temperature of 0.9 degrees Celsius, turned out to be the coldest place in the plains, according to the Met office here.

Cold claimed one life in Haryana. The body of a beggar was found on Saturday from the Sonepat railway station. This was the third cold-related death in the district this week.

The other death was reported from Punjab. A 35-year-old man died in village Bhabiana in Phagwara last night.

Thick fog at some places in the region this morning reduced visibility and threw normal life out of gear. In Amritsar, visibility dropped to zero. Chandigarh and Ambala were also affected.

Several long-distance and suburban trains, especially on the Delhi-Ambala-Kalka rail section, were running way behind schedule, railway sources said.

Nineteen people, including seven women and three pilgrims, were today injured in fog-induced accidents in Phagwara area in Punjab alone.

23 deaths due to cold

Lucknow: At least 23 people have died due to severe cold in the last week in Uttar Pradesh, even as the State Capital experienced the coldest day of the season on Saturday, officials said.

Three deaths each were reported from Mahoba, Deoria, Gorakhpur and Balrampur, two each from Varanasi, Kushinagar, Ghazipur and Bhadohi and one each from Lalitpur, Barabanki and Hardoi, they said. The State Government has directed all the District Magistrates to ensure arrangement of bonfires and distribution blankets to the poor to protect them from excessive cold, the officials said.

Today was the coldest day this winter in capital Lucknow, which recorded a temperature of 7.3 degree Celsius this morning, the Met office said. Even colder days are likely to follow as the city is under the effect of westerly winds which have started sweeping the State, they added. Though it did not rain in the city, most parts of the State received some rains leading to moisture in the air and bringing the temperature down, the officials said. The New Year eve in all likelihood would be hazy and cold, the weathermen said.

Rise in temperature

Jaipur: A sharp rise was recorded in temperatures in Rajasthan as western disturbances weakened the effect of north-westerly winds causing the cold wave conditions.

Churu, which recorded the lowest temperature of 2.5 degree Celsius yesterday, today recorded 5.3 while Sriganganagar remained the coldest at 4.3 degrees, a Met department official said.

Over the past few days, north westerly winds had aggravated cold conditions with mercury plummeting by 2 to 4 degrees at most places.

Today however a rise was recorded in the night temperatures and mercury increased by 1 to 3 degrees, the official said.

The Met department attributed this sudden rise in temperatures to the western disturbances that dampened the effect of north westerly winds. Jaipur recorded a minimum of 5.6 degrees, Churu 5.3, Barmer 6.2, Pilani 6.3, Bikaner 6.9, Jaisalmer 5.8, Dabok 9.2, Jodhpur 10.3 and Ajmer 10.6 degree Celsius. The weatherman forecasts a further increase in temperature. PTI