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UP monsoon fury leaves 155 dead
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow | July 10, 2006 13:12 IST
Last Updated: July 10, 2006 13:58 IST
Heavy rain, accompanied by thunder and lightning, has claimed 21 lives over the past day in Uttar Pradesh. This raises the overall toll of monsoon-related deaths to 155 since June. Incessant rain has left the state inundated and has disrupted normal life in many areas.
Early on Sunday, three people died on account of lightning that struck parts of Lucknow and Hardoi districts. Some deaths occurred on account of collapse of old and dilapidated houses or hutments in smaller towns and villages.
Large parts of Lucknow faced power outages, which techinicians were still battling to fix.
State Relief Commissioner Renuka Kumar said there was little that was humanly possible to prevent such deaths on account of nature's fury. "On an average, at least 1300-1400 human lives were lost every year on account of rain, thunderstorm, lightning and other natural calamities that routinely hit the state," she said.
An ex-gratia relief of Rs 100,000 is given away by the state against each victim to their next of kin.
"We have an annual budget of Rs 300 crores (3 billion) for providing immediate relief to the victims of different natural calamities, but not more than Rs. 80 crores (800 million) get utilised," Kumar pointed out.
Citizens, however, wonder why the government cannot utilise these funds to take certain permanent measures to prevent water-logging, inundation, power disruptions as well as improvement of drainage systems.
"I would not be surprised if such preventive measures are avoided only because government officials are interested in making hefty cuts out of the funds released every year to tackle the perennial problem," remarked Sushil Kumar, a resident of Telibagh village on the outskirts of Lucknow, where water logging is a continued menace.