RAJASTHAN DUST STORM: DEATH TOLL MOUNTS TO 27; 4 LAKH EX-GRATIA ANNOUNCED FOR KIN OF DECEASED

At least 27 people were killed and scores others injured after a powerful dust storm hit eastern Rajasthan on Wednesday night.

The high-speed dust storm wreaked havoc in Alwar, Dholpur, Bharatpur, Bikaner and Jhunjhunu districts, uprooting hundreds of trees and electricity polls. At least 12 people were killed in Bharatpur, 10 in Dholpur and five in Alwar.

"So far, 27 people have died due to the disaster, including 12 in Bharatpur, 10 in Dholpur and 5 in Alwar. The squall was reported mainly in three districts,"  PTI quoted Hemant Kumar Gera, Secretary, Disaster Management and Relief as saying.

Gera said that a detailed report of the disaster was awaited even as relief and rescue teams were sent to clear debris and restore power supply, he said.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje expressed her condolences to the families of deceased and directed concerned district officials to begin relief work and restore utilities.

“Have directed Ministers and concerned officials to affected areas to begin relief work immediately and restore utilities. An unfortunate incident, we have been working closely with local authorities to mitigate the situation,” Raje tweeted.

A compensation of Rs 4 lakh to the family members of deceased and Rs 2 lakh for people sustaining 60 per cent injuries was announced by the authories. Rs People with 40 to 50 per cent injuries will also be given Rs 60,000.

The Chief Minister also assigned monitoring tasks to several ministers and party leaders. Gulabchand Kataria and Arun Chaturvedi were asked to monitor situation in Alwar and Dholpur, respectively.

While state Health Minister Kalicharan Saraf was monitoring the situation in Bharatpur, Surendrapal Singh was looking after the relief work in Jhunjhunu.

Rajasthan Congress president Sachin Pilot asked district Congress presidents and ‘Seva Dal’ members to provide “any possible help” to those affected by the inclement weather.

“Extremely grieved” at the loss of lives, former Rajasthan chief minister and Congress’ national general secretary Ashok Gehlot cancelled his birthday celebration at his residence.