Indian media: Deaths and travel chaos in cold weather

Papers say homeless people have been severely affected due to a sharp fall in temperature Image copyright AFP
Image caption Papers say homeless people have been severely affected due to a sharp fall in temperature

Papers say severe cold weather has massively affected road, rail and air traffic in northern India, amid worries over the safety of homeless people.

Delhi recorded the coldest day of the season on Monday at 4.2C.

"On a fogged out Monday, when the minimum temperature plunged to a season's low of 4.2 degrees Celsius, Delhi was colder than hill stations such as Mussoorie and Shimla," The Times of India says.

Travellers, however, were caught in "nightmarish" situation as more than 300 flights and 250 trains were delayed after thick fog enveloped the city, the Hindustan Times reports.

"Flights were delayed between 15 minutes and two hours. Some passengers were stuck inside planes and even in the air," the paper quotes an airport official as saying.

There may be no respite in the next few days with weather authorities predicting "foggy days till 29 December", the paper adds.

Railway services were equally impacted with some trains delayed by up to 24 hours, reports say.

Many passengers were stranded at railway stations in the cold weather conditions waiting for their trains to arrive.

"Utter chaos was seen at New Delhi railway station on Monday as many trains were running behind schedule due to fog. What made matters worse for those waiting in the harsh cold was lack of clarity over when trains would arrive," The Times of India reports.

Angry passengers complained about lack of cooperation from railway authorities, reports say.

"My train, Poorva Express, is late by four hours. Even the railway staff is not cooperating in giving us information. When we went to the inquiry counter, the teller started abusing us," the paper quotes Amit Kumar, a passenger, as saying.

The Deccan Herald, meanwhile, reports loss of lives in "cold-related incidents" in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

"Cold-related incidents have so far killed 60, while reports of 10 more deaths coming from different parts of the state in the past 24 hours," the paper says.

Reports say most among the dead were homeless people.

United against BJP

In some political news, leaders of regional parties demonstrated against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Delhi on Monday, The Indian Express reports.

Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Lalu Prasad Yadav and the Janata Dal (United)'s Nitish Kumar pledged unity against the BJP during the demonstration.

"From our identities as separate parties, we have to merge in a single party. An agreement has been reached on this," the paper quotes Mr Kumar as saying.

These parties are against the government's economic and social welfare policies.

And finally, around 71% of the disabled children in India live in rural areas, according to the latest census report released on Monday.

"India has over 2 million disabled children aged between 0 and 6 years. Around 71% of them - 1.4 million children - are in rural areas," The Times of India says.

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