New Delhi, Jun 2 (PTI) At least 21 people were killed on Tuesday in Assam in rain-triggered landslides, while the western part of the country braced for an impending cyclone and several districts down south remained on alert for heavy monsoon rain.
Up north, the mercury remained within normal limits with the national capital witnessing a partly cloudy sky, while the weather office forecast heavy rains for parts of Rajasthan over the next two days.
The home ministry said cyclone 'Nisarga' will make landfall along the Maharashtra coast on Wednesday with high wind speed ranging up to 100-110 kmph gusting to 120 kmph.
The storm is likely to impact Mumbai, Thane and other coastal districts of Maharashtra like Raigad and Palghar. It may hit Valsad, Navsari, Surat, Bhavnagar and Bharuch districts of Gujarat and Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu.
The NDRF has deployed 40 teams in Maharashtra, Gujarat and UT of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu.
An alert has been issued for Mumbai city and suburbs, Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts.
The India Meteorological Department said the cyclonic storm will cross North Maharashtra and adjoining South Gujarat coast between Harihareshwar and Daman, close to Alibaug (in Maharashtra's Raigad), on June 3 as a 'severe cyclonic storm' bringing in very heavy rains.
The Maharashtra government said it is taking measures to prevent power outages and is also taking precautions in chemical industries and the nuclear power plant in Palghar and Raigad districts.
Gujarat has begun moving people from vulnerable areas.
'A total of 78,971 persons living near the seashore in Valsad, Surat, Navsari and Bharuch districts will be shifted to safer locations. 1,727 villagers have already been shifted,' Gujarat Relief Commissioner Harshad Patel told reporters in Gandhinagar on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with the chief ministers of Maharashtra and Gujarat, assuring them all help from the Centre to deal with the crisis. Modi also spoke with the administrator of Daman, Diu Dadra and Nagar Haveli Praful K Patel.
In the national capital, a partly cloudy sky kept the mercury in check while the Safdarjung Observatory, which provides representative figures for the city, recorded a maximum of 36.9 degrees Celsius, which was four notches below normal.
The Palam Observatory recorded a high of 37.6 degrees Celsius. The MeT department has predicted very light rain or thundershower with winds gusting up to 40 kilometers per hour on Wednesday.
Torrential rains triggered massive landslides in three districts of Assam's Barak valley on Tuesday, dumping mountains of mud, swamping homes and snuffing out at least 21 lives, officials said.
Three families were almost entirely wiped out, while 17 people were injured in Hailakandi, Karimganj and Cachar districts.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal condoled the loss of lives in the landslides.
State Minister Parimal Suklavaidya has directed district authorities to immediately send their reports on the landslide to the government for payment of Rs 4 lakh ex gratia each to the next of kin of the deceased.
Down south, heavy rains lashed several parts of Kerala on Tuesday, a day after the monsoon set in, while an orange alert has been sounded for four districts, including Thiruvananthapuram where several low-lying areas were waterlogged.
Three northern districts of Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod are the others brought under Orange alert - warning of heavy rainfall (ranging from 6.4 cm to 11.5 cm) to very heavy rainfall (of 11.5 cm to 20.4 cm), the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
Yellow alert (possibility of isolated heavy rainfall) has been issued to seven districts on Tuesday.
Un north, maximum temperatures in Haryana and Punjab continued to remain well below the normal limits, while some parts of Uttar Pradesh received light rains , with state capital Lucknow recording the maximum temperate at 35 degrees Celsius.
According to the MeT Department, rainfall was recorded in Hamirpur (8.0 mm) and Meerut (0.7 mm).
Banda was the hottest city in UP, where mercury touched 39.2 degrees Celsius, followed by Allahabad 38 degrees Celsius, Varanasi 37.6 degrees Celsius Lakhimpur Kheri 37.4 degrees Celsius and Bahraich 37.2 degrees Celsius.
In Rajasthan, the MeT department has forecast heavy rains in Baran, Jhalawar, Pratapgarh, Rajsamand, Sirohi, Udaipur, Pali and Jalore on Wednesday.
It also warned of heavy to extremely heavy rainfall in Banswara, Baran, Dungarpur, Kota, Jhalawar, Pratapgarh, Udaipur, Barmer and Jalore on Thursday.
According to the MeT department, heavy to very heavy rainfall is also likely in Banswara, Chittorgarh, Baran, Bhilwara, Dungarpur, Kota, Jhalawar, Pratapgarh and Udaipur on Friday. PTI TEAM TIR TIR