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26 dead in UP as cold wave intensifies


Lucknow: Even as the fog receded in most parts of Uttar Pradesh Monday, 26 people have died in the last 24 hours because of the extreme cold, officials said.

The deaths were reported from Basti (6), Jaunpur (4), Ballia (4), Mirzapur (2), Varanasi, Bhadohi and Chandauli (1 each). Dense fog has also caused road accidents, in which as many as six have died.

With mercury falling below 11 degrees Celsius in the day, and with minimum temperature falling below four degrees Celsius, the district magistrate of Lucknow has ordered closure of all schools and colleges in the state capital till January 5.

Timings for class 11 and 12 have also been revised, and schools are set to open at 10 a.m..

Met director J.P. Gupta said conditions would not improve in the coming week. Fog and bitter cold would continue in most parts of the state.

Fog also disrupted train schedules, and more than 50 trains were running late Monday morning. All major trains from the union capital Delhi to Lucknow were running late by several hours.

The Shatabdi Express was running late by five hours, while the Lucknow Mail was running late by three hours, officials said. (Average journey time by Shatabdi is six hours, 22 minutes.)

Long-distance trains were running late by several hours and the Barauni Express had to be cancelled by the Northern Railways.

Four flights were cancelled Sunday evening as the visibility at the Chaudhary Charan Singh Amausi airport did not improve. Many flight passengers hoped that the weather would improve, but were in for disappointment as major flyers like Jet Airways and Indigo said they would not be able to fly the late evening flights due to poor visibility.

Jet Airways flights (9W-303) between Delhi-Lucknow, 9W-304, 9w-2513 between Kolkata-Lucknow and the Indigo flight to Mumbai remained cancelled Sunday.