New Delhi: While North India continues to face scorching heat and sultry weather, incessant rains and landslides have claimed the lives of at least 77 people in the northeastern state of Assam.
According to latest data released by the Met Department, monsoon is now expected to hit North India later this week after missing the date in the national capital on June 29.
As per weather scientists nearly two-thirds of the country has already received deficient or scanty rains this season. The Met officials also claim that the monsoon has got stuck somewhere which has further increased the scorching heat especial in the Northern parts of India.
The national capital yesterday recorded a searing 43.5 degrees Celsius and temperatures in other states as well were several notches above normal.
Met Department claims that rainfall has been 31% deficient so far.
Eighty-three per cent of the country, including the granary states of Punjab and Haryana, has received deficient or scanty rainfall.
However, the Met officials insists, that rains are on the way. The monsoon is likely to hit North India and revive in the South later this week. Met officials say that temperatures will drop drastically in the North once the monsoon arrives.
PM, Sonia visit flood-hit Assam today
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, accompanied by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, today made an aerial survey of flood affected areas in Assam.
The three leaders made an aerial survey by helicopter of Majuli island, Jorhat, Sibsagar, Lakhimpur and Dhemaji districts, which were among the worst-affected in the floods, senior officials said.
They were also expected to survey the Kaziranga National Park, which has been completely submerged by flood waters.
Earlier, Singh and Gandhi reached Jorhat`s Rowriah airport from New Delhi by a special flight at around 11:00 AM.
Later in the day, the two leaders would reach Guwahati and discuss the latest situation with ministers and officials.
Singh and Gandhi are scheduled to leave for New Delhi from Guwahati in the afternoon.
Prime Minister also announced Rs 500 crore package for the flood-affected state.
Singh has already announced an ex-gratia of Rs one lakh from the Prime Minister`s National Relief Fund to the kin of each of those killed in the floods and directed the Defence Ministry to provide Army assistance in rescue and relief.
He called up the state`s Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on June 28 to enquire about the condition in the state.
The Prime Minister has assured the Assam government of all help to deal with the flood situation there. He also spoke to Defence Minister AK Antony "urging full Army assistance for the rescue and relief operations in the affected areas".
The water level is said to be receding in some areas. Twenty four sorties have been carried out by the Indian Air Force helicopters and 4,000 kg of food packets dropped in the flood affected regions.
The Assam floods have so far claimed 61 lives and another 16 persons have been killed in landslides.
The floods have affected all 27 districts of the state.
With PTI Input