The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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11 dead in hailstorm lash

Calcutta, March 12: The seasonís first hailstorm lashed south Bengal this afternoon, killing at least 11 persons in Hooghly district and injuring over 300 others elsewhere.

Train services in both Howrah and Sealdah divisions were disrupted for several hours. Traffic was thrown out of gear in several places as uprooted trees blocked roads.

Hooghly superintendent of police Ajoy Kumar said seven persons, including two children, were killed when a tree fell on a truck in the Alipore area of Chanditala.

Two persons died at Gopalnagar in Singur when lightning struck them as they were working in the fields. They were identified as Benoy Roy, 23, and Bharat Sardar, 32.

Two others, identified as Debu Mondal, 35, and Naren Bera, 30, died on being hit by hail at Sepaigachhi in Haripal, Kumar said.

At least 220 people were injured similarly in Bankura. District magistrate J.A. Khan said nearly 115 people, 30 of them in a serious condition, have been admitted to hospitals.

Traffic along the busy G.T. Road was held up for over an hour after a tree fell across it near Rishra police outpost in Hooghly. The scene was worse on B.T Road, where vehicles could not ply for several hours.

Train services were disrupted in both Sealdah and Howrah divisions from 4.30 pm. Railway officials said snapped branches fell on overhead wires at several stations, tripping power supply. Services were not fully restored till late in the evening.

At Khardah in Sodepur, miscreants took advantage of the confusion unleashed by the storm to loot Rs 1. 96 lakh from employees of a babyfood godown.

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