Heat wave continues to grip India (Roundup)

New Delhi, May 27 (IANS) India continued to singe without respite from an unprecedented heat wave – said to be the worst in decades – with the temperature touching a burning 50 degree Celsius in the tourist town of Khajuraho in central India with a number of deaths from heat stroke reported from all parts of the country except the south.

According to the India Meteorological Department, heat wave conditions are prevailing over parts of Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana. Jharkhand, north Madhya Pradesh and Vidarbha in Maharashtra are also under the spell of the heat wave.

The heat wave has claimed 34 lives in the eastern state of Orissa since March. The state government confirmed nine deaths Thursday.

‘The number of deaths due to heatstroke is likely to go up further as the local health and revenue officials are examining 65 suspected heat wave deaths in different part of the state,’ an official of the Bhubaneswar meteorological centre said.

In Maharashtra’s eastern region of Vidarbha, that had hit the headlines in the last few for dozens of farmer suicides, there were unconfirmed reports of over 70 deaths.

According to an NGO, Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti, 72 people died due to heatstroke in the Vidarbha region in the last three days.

The maximum temperature was recorded in Vidarbha Thursday was at about 45 degrees Celsius.

Scorching heat wave conditions also continued over the national capital which recorded a maximum temperature of 43.8 degree Celsius, which was three notches above the average.

The minimum temperature was two notches above average at 30.3 degrees Celsius.

In Madhya Pradesh, though the temperatures went down in many parts but the northern region of the state continued to reel under severe heat wave conditions with Khajuraho, famous for its erotic temple scupltures that tourists come to see from all over the world, recording a maximum temperature of 50 degrees Celsius.

Southern and western areas of Uttar Pradesh Thursday witnessed high temperatures, whereas the weather conditions were normal in remaining parts of the state.

The maximum temperature in Lucknow was recorded 40.2 degrees Celsius, the minimum temperature was recorded 28.0 degrees Celsius.

In the northern Indian states of Punjab and Haryana soaring mercury accompanied by heat wave derailed normal life in the region.

Chandigarh, which is also the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana, registered a maximum temperature of 40.7 degrees Celsius.

Even the hills of Himachal Pradesh had no respite from the heat as the state continued to sizzle Thursday with capital Shimla, once the summer capital of the British raj, recording the highest May temperature in six years at 32.4 degrees Celsius.

There was some respite from the heat in Jammu and Kashmir with the weather office forecasting rains and thundershowers across the valley.

Down south, the only region of India spared of the heat wave, monsoon is expected to hit Kerala early next week, the weatherman said.

(With inputs from other bureaus)