After reports of over 30 deaths, apparently due to an intense heat wave in southern West Bengal, the state administration has started taking precautionary measures.
"We have received reports of 16 unnatural deaths from various hospitals in the Burdwan district on Tuesday," District Magistrate OS Meena told Indo-Asian News Service.
"Keeping in mind the intense heat wave which might result in casualties, we have arranged for additional beds and generators in the hospitals," he said.
"Drinking water tankers are also being placed in various parts and schools have been asked to extend the summer holidays," he added.
While Hooghly reported three such deaths, four people succumbed to the heat in Jhargram in West Midnapore. Two deaths due to intense heat were reported from Howrah and Kolkata, district sources said.
Officials of several other district administrations have taken similar precautionary steps.
While the mercury touched 40.2 degrees Celsius in Kolkata -- five degrees above normal - the temperature rose even higher in the other parts of South Bengal.
The Regional Meteorological Centre forecast the heat wave would continue and said a change in the weather conditions was unlikely in the next 24 hours.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has asked the education department to order the schools to extend the summer holidays till June 17.
The intense heat has even forced advocates of the Calcutta High Court to declare cessation of work till Monday.