Hint of rain…but more deaths


New Delhi : The summer sun relented a little Tuesday, making way for cloudy skies and even rain in parts of India. But other areas continued to swelter, with six people dying in Madhya Pradesh alone.

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In Delhi one more Tihar jail prisoner died of dehydration Tuesday, taking the summer's death roll in the high-security jail to five.

Across the country so far at least 126 people have died in the unrelenting heat-wave, with the mercury hovering around 45 degrees Celsius in many places.

But there was a welcome dip in temperatures in Delhi and Shimla Tuesday. An overcast sky brought hope to the Indian capital, where the temperature was about 38 degrees Celsius, a three-degree dip from Monday.

"I was gearing up for another hot and humid day with my water bottle and umbrella. But when I saw the cloudy sky and felt the cool breeze I was pleasantly surprised. I didn't even mind walking to the bus stand," said Alvira Shah, a banker.

The capital has been reeling under the blazing sun – nearly 30 people have died in the heat in the last three days alone. Rickshaw-pullers, traffic policemen, salesmen and the homeless have borne the brunt of the sizzling temperatures.

In Madhya Pradesh, the heat wave continued to kill, with six more deaths reported Tuesday despite light showers in parts of the state Monday night. The temperature in the Datia area hit an unbearable 48 degrees Celsius. The capital Bhopal, however, saw the temperature dip to 40 degrees Celsius.

Rajasthan continued to be paralysed as the mercury hovered between 39 and 45 degrees Celsius. Although the state government has not released any figures on heat-related deaths, the local media says 36 people have died so far.

The sweat factor persisted everywhere – be it in the Indian capital, where the humidity level was 65 percent Tuesday, or deep down south, people continued to perspire.

It was a humid and hot 40 degrees in Chennai: "Coolers are no good here. AC sales are perhaps at their highest right now," said Deepa Krishnan, a Chennai resident.

Things were more cheerful in hilly Shimla, which is in danger of losing its reputation as the perfect summer getaway for tourists.

"Ooh raindrops! My trip hasn't been in vain – and just when I was beginning to get disappointed," said Susmit Sharma, a Delhi resident who was in the Himachal Pradesh capital for a holiday.

After experiencing the hottest day in 12 years Sunday at a maximum of 31.5 degrees Celsius, the temperature in Shimla came down to 21.2 degrees Tuesday.