May 20, 2006

Pre-monsoon storms lash India, 20 dead

KOLKATA, India (Reuters) - Lightning strikes and falling
trees have killed 20 people in pre-monsoon storms which lashed
two Indian states, officials said on Saturday.

At least 12 people died in the southern state of Andhra
Pradesh and eight others were struck dead by lightning in West
Bengal on Friday, they said.

In West Bengal, five of the deaths occurred on the banks of
Fulahar river, about 380 km (237 miles) north of state capital

The South West monsoon, the lifeline for millions of Indian
farmers and the economy, is expected to set in by the end of
the month.