Dust storm and heavy rain in India kills dozens six weeks ahead of monsoon season

Dozens of people have been killed after a powerful dust storm and rain swept across parts of north and western India, causing houses to collapse and toppling trees.

The devastation is particularly severe in Agra, the northern Indian city where the Taj Mahal is located, according to officials.

Relief commissioner Sanjay Kumar said 36 people died there as the wind speed touched 128 kms per hour. Some people also were killed by lightning.

There was no damage to the monument.

The Press Trust of India news agency said at least 27 others have died and another 100 were injured in the western Indian state of Rajasthan.

The rainstorm caught people by surprise as the monsoon season is still more than six weeks away.

Uprooted trees flattened the mud huts of the poor, Mr Kumar said.

Electricity supply and telephone lines were snapped in parts of Uttar Pradesh state, he added.

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