AGRA: After returning to Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath on Saturday appeared to blame the weather department for not providing adequate information about the ferocious winds that tore down homes and toppled walls, killing nearly 75 people in the state.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had flown directly to Agra on Friday evening, skipping two election meetings that he was to address in Karnataka. He had been facing flak for continuing to campaign in Karnataka for the May 12 elections despite scores of deaths in the state that he rules.
The intense storm and lightening uprooted trees, snapped power cables and led to the collapse of many thatched houses. A large number of people were sleeping when their roofs collapsed as 130 km an hour gusts battered their houses.
That the Chief Minister decided to go for an aerial survey over Agra and Kanpur is an indicator of the widespread destruction that it left behind. He has not spoken yet on what he saw.
Over 40 people died in Agra district alone. Altogether, 124 people were killed and over 300 others injured in five states due thunderstorms and lightning, the Union Home Ministry said today.
Reaching out to people who were injured in the storm, Yogi Adityanath, 45, also visited the city’s state-run hospital and later met some affected families. The state government had earlier claimed that most people entitled to relief had already been given the money.
For the future, Yogi Adityanath told reporters that the government had sent out warnings for storms that are expected to continue till May 8. “We are informing people about the dangers and telling them to get to safety,” he said.
Asked why the state officials hadn’t taken similar steps when the dust storms ravaged parts of the state, he seemed to point a finger at the weather department.
“I will be looking into that matter. I have ordered a meeting on this matter…. Why didn’t the weather department alert people on time,” the Yogi Adityanath told reporters.
It is a point that state government officials had alluded to earlier, insisting that weather department alerts did not indicate the deadly nature of the winds.
“The weather department’s feedback said that the storm wasn’t of a very high intensity but often local factors play a role…. It was quite intense for the Saharanpur area even though the damage there was relatively lesser than other areas. There has been a lot of damage in Agra,” Sanjay Kumar, Relief Commissioner of Uttar Pradesh had said earlier.