New Delhi: Biting cold and foggy conditions claimed 22 more lives taking the country-wide death toll this winter to 75 on Tuesday as authorities shut schools in Bihar and Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh owing to unabated chill.

READ MORE: Freezing cold, fog claim 65 lives in UP

Fifteen more succumbed to the cold in Uttar Pradesh while seven died in road accidents in Bihar which occurred due to poor visibility spawned by dense fog.

Jharkhand Disaster Management Minister Gopalkrishna Patar said in Ranchi that the cold and harsh weather had so far cliamed 14 lives in the state.

Uttar Pradesh accounted for a maximum of 45 fatalities, Jharkhand 14, Punjab nine and Bihar seven, officials in respective state capitals said.

The national capital experienced a shallow fog and cold morning with the minimum temperature plummeting to less than five degress Celsius.

The minimum was recorded at 4.8 deg C, more than three degrees below normal, the weather office said.

This is the second time in the last four days that the minimum in Delhi has dipped below five deg C.

Authorities ordered closure of all private and government primary and middle schools till December 22 in Ghaziabad due to unabated cold wave.

In Bihar also, schools were shut till December 25 as cold and foggy conditions persisted for the fifth consecutive day.
Capital Patna recorded a low of 8.3 deg C against Monday’s 9.2.

Parts of Kashmir Valley, including tourist resorts of Gulmarg and Pahalgam, received fresh snowfall as minimum temperatures across the Valley rose by a few notches.

However, Gulmarg shivered at minus 7.4 deg C. In summer capital Srinagar, the minimum rose by 3.1 deg to settle at minus 0.3 degrees.

Mercury also rose by a few notches in Punjab and Haryana with the minimum in Hisar settling at 8 deg C, up by a degree above normal, Met office said.

Ambala and Chandigarh had lows of 6 deg C and 7.2 deg C respectively.

Amritsar had a low of 7.4 deg C, three notches above normal. Maximum temperatures in both states hovered at around 20 deg C.

Rajasthan continued to reel under cold conditions with Sriganganagar recording a minimum of 4.8 deg C followed by Vanasthali 5.3 deg C.

Jharkhand witnessed foggy conditions which disrupted normal life at many places in the state.

Ranchi registered a minimum of 7 deg C while the maximum touched 23.4 deg C, the MeT office said.

42 trains cancelled

Dense fog on Tuesday caused large- scale disruption of rail services with over 140 trains arriving "inordinately late" in the city and over 100 being either rescheduled or running several hours late.

While 42 trains have been cancelled, 41 were rescheduled and 65 running several hours late, officials said.

Mahabodhi Express is running 35 hours late, while Orissa Sampark Kranti Express is 21 hours behind schedule and Howrah Duronto running 12 hours late.

"Dense fog has reduced the visibility and the trains are being forced to run in a slow speed of 20 km," a Northern Railway spokesperson said.

Almost all the Rajdhanis bound for East were rescheduled for the day.

Operation of 75 flights hit

Dense fog on Tuesday again disrupted flight operations at the IGI airport as around 75 of them were either cancelled or delayed, causing inconvenience to passengers.

Around four flights to Lucknow and Chandigarh were cancelled due to inclement weather conditions, while flights arriving here from other cities were also delayed, an airport official said.

Due to the late arrival, many flights departing from here also got delayed, he said.

A thick blanket of fog descended at the airport at around midnight, forcing airport authorities to implement low visibility procedures.

The visibility improved between 4:30 am and 7:30 am but it suddenly dipped at around 8:30 am to 500 metres due to sudden formation of fog.

Met department has predicted dense fog for tomorrow morning and flight operations may also remain affected.

Fog persists in Bihar, claims 7 lives

Poor visibility due to fog led to the death of seven persons and injury to 22 others in separate road mishaps in Aurangabad and Darbhanga districts of Bihar on Tuesday.

Police said four persons were killed and 18 injured, seven of them seriously, in a truck-bus collision near Babhandiha village on NH 98 in Aurangabad district, police said.

In Darbhanga three persons were killed and four others injured when a jeep overturned at Sarkhua due to poor visibility, they said.

Cold wave conditions persisted in Bihar for the fifth day today, partially affecting normal life. The day broke with fog enveloping the state and the sun was not visible during the day.

Rail traffic was affected due to cold and foggy conditions causing poor visibility. A number of trains were either running behind their schedule or cancelled or
rescheduled, Railway officials said.

The minimum temperature improved in Gaya from 5.2 degree Celsius yesterday to 8.4 degree Celsius, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD) here.

Patna recorded a minimum temperature of 8.3 degree Celsius as against 9.2 deg C yesterday, while it improved at Purnia from 8.5 degrees yesterday to 10.4 degrees. In Bhagalpur the temperature remained at 10.2 deg C.

The Met office said weather will be mainly dry over the next 48 hours in the state.

The state government has closed all government schools till December 25 in view of the cold, officials said, adding the district administrations have been directed to provide for bonfires at public places across the state.

(JPN/Agencies)