The bitter cold wave gripping northern, central and eastern India for the last two weeks has claimed over 500 lives till Thursday, according to the Press Trustof India (PTI).
Thirty-five more people died of cold overnight on Wednesday, thus bringing the death toll in this harsh winter to 509 as thick fog blanketed many places in the country and threw normal life outof gear.
The hardest-hit state of Uttar Pradesh, where 30 fresh deaths were reported since last evening, accounted for 327 deaths, followed by Bihar, with 90 deaths, PTI said.
Temperature in Uttar Pradesh capital of Lucknow recorded a low of 4.8 degrees Celsius, three degrees below normal, forcing the authorities to shut schools in several districts till Friday.
In the nearby state of Bihar, where five more people succumbed to frigid temperatures coupled with dense fog, trains and flights were either delayed or cancelled with several long-distance trainswere running five to eight hours behind schedule, according to PTI.
Temperatures hovered between two and five degrees Celsius at many places in Rajasthan and while the Kashmir valley continued tobear the onslaught of piercing cold wave with nearly freezing temperatures, PTI said.
Traffic on national highways moved at snail's pace due to poor visibility, it said, adding that many flights were delayed or cancelled.