Three days after a deadly dust storm claimed 73 lives and injured 91 in Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday took an aerial survey of the areas that were affected and met the victims at a hospital. The dust storm that pummeled several parts of western and northern India on Wednesday killed more than 100 people and injured at least 205, in total. In Rajasthan, 36 people were killed and more than 100 injured.
Adityanath also distributed cheques to people affected by the storm in Agra’s Fatehabad and said, “Relief has been provided to the affected. Kin of those who died have been given Rs 4 lakhs as ex-gratia and the injured are given free treatment in hospitals.”
He had, on Thursday, directed state officers to personally monitor relief operations and provide all necessary medical facilities to the affected. He had also warned that no laxity will be tolerated in providing aid to those in need.
The chief minister was campaigning in poll-bound Karnataka on the day of the incident. Several Opposition leaders including Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Congress’ Randeep Singh Surjewala had targeted him for rallying in the state instead of attending to the situation in Uttar Pradesh.
“I am sorry your CM is needed here in Karnataka. I am sure he will return soon & attend to his work there,” Siddaramaiah had tweeted on Thursday.
Cutting short his visit to Karnataka, Adityanath rushed back to visit storm-hit Uttar Pardesh on Friday to take stock of the situation in different parts of the state.
Agra district was worst hit by the dust storm, accounting for 43 deaths. Other districts affected included Bijnor, Bareli, Saharanpur, Pilibhit, Firozabad, Chitrakoot, Muzaffarnagar, Rae Bareli and Unnao.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday approved an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each from PM National Relief Fund for the next of kin of those who have lost their lives due to dust storms in various states of Northern India. He also approved Rs 50,000 each for those seriously injured due to storms.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) on Friday predicted another episode of dust storm and thundershowers for two days till today due to cyclonic circulation formation in the region.