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Heat wave sweeps through several states in India

NEW DELHI, May 20 — Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) reported that at least two states in India were experiencing heat waves since yesterday, with temperatures in the capital soaring to 43 degree Celsius over the last few days.

The department said Sunday temperatures in Delhi rose to 44 degree Celsius, the highest recorded so far during this summer while IMD warned some severe heat waves in West and West Madhya Pradesh today and tomorrow.

The department also predicted heat waves to sweep through Vidharba, eastern region of the Indian state of Maharashtra.

It has been widely expected that Delhiites would experience heat waves as early as end of this month or middle of next month.

Last year, nearly 100 homeless people in Delhi succumbed to the extreme weather, while the state of Andra Pradesh recorded 169 deaths within two weeks at the peak of last summer.

This year's summer is forecasted to last up to the month of August with the IMD expecting the southern Indian states to experience monsoon as early as July.

In a related development, Delhi and its surrounding areas, populated with more than 20 million people, was rather quiet unlike the normal bustling crowd from morning to late night on the streets during afternoon lunch hours.

The dry whether also worsened air quality in the city which took over from Beijing as the most polluted city in the world.

This forced local authorities to ban more than 10-year-old diesel powered vehicles from the roads.

Spot checks at construction sites have also been beefed up since the sector has been identified as one of the main contributor to pollution.

Checks with travel agencies and resorts at major hill stations revealed that rooms were fully booked up to end of the summer holidays in mid-July.

"We are getting more calls from all over India each day but we were forced to turn down their booking quarries," said a resort staff in Simla about 370 kilometres or eight hours drive from the capital here.

Meanwhile, hotels in Delhi were forced to offer discounted rates between 20 to 30 per cent with more and more local holidaymakers heading to hill stations and overseas.

Other than Thailand and Singapore, Malaysia has also become a popular destination, according to Tourism Malaysia director (Mumbai) P. Manoharan, where more than 700,000 arrivals were recorded from India last year.

He said nearly 5,000 Indians, mainly Bollywood stars and their fans are expected to be in Kuala Lumpur for the 15th Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards and it's related festivities from June 5 to 7. (PNA/Bernama)

FPV/CDN

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