At least 26 people were killed by lightning strikes in three districts of southern Bengal on Monday, a state disaster management official said. Nine people died in Murshidabad and Hooghly districts and two of their lives in Purba Medinipur district, the official said.
Three more people were injured by lightning in Murshidabad district and were admitted to Jangipur hospital, he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi mourned the deaths and approved an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh each for the relatives of the dead and Rs 50,000 for the wounded.
In a tweet, Prime Minister Modi said: “My thoughts go out to all those who lost their near and dear ones due to lightning in some parts of West Bengal. May the injured recover as soon as possible.”
The Prime Minister’s Office said in a tweet: “Prime Minister @narendramodi has approved an ex-gratia of ₹ 2 lakh each from the PMNRF for family members of those who have lost their lives due to lightning strikes in various parts of West Bengal. Rs 50,000 would be given to the wounded. ”
Union Interior Minister Amit Shah also mourned the deaths caused by the lightning strikes and prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured.
Lightning storms and wind gusts struck several districts of southern Bengal in the evening after a sweltering day, the Met department said.
Purba Medinipur, South 24 Parganas, Kolkata, Hooghly, Howrah, Murshidabad, Purulia, Bankura, and Nadia all experienced thunderstorms when pre-monsoon rains occurred at various locations in these districts.
Kolkata, which recorded a maximum of 37.7 degrees Celsius during the day, received 12mm of rain at night, the meteorological bureau said.
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A gust passed over the Alipore observatory in the city at 4.25 p.m. from the northwest with the highest gust at 59 kmph and lasted two minutes, he said.
The meteorological office forecast a generally cloudy sky in Kolkata and the neighborhood on Tuesday with the possibility of rain or thunderstorms.
With the arrival of the monsoon in North Bengal, heavy to very heavy rains are likely in the sub-Himalayan districts of Darjeeling and Alipurduar, with heavy rains expected in Coochbehar, Kalimpong, and Jalpaiguri through Wednesday morning, he said.
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