Chandigarh, May 7 (PTI) The Haryana government has cancelled leave of all officials in municipalities across the state, in view of the IMD issuing an alert forecasting thunderstorm and squall tomorrow in several parts of north India.

Fire and other emergency services, too, have been directed to remain alert.

The directions were issued by the state government after a meeting of Haryana Urban Local Bodies Minister Kavita Jain with senior officers of her department here.

The meeting was called to review the arrangements made in view of the alert issued by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) .

It is the responsibility of the state government to make people aware and to take precautionary steps to prevent any kind of loss to lives and property, Jain said.

She directed that there should not be any dereliction of duties and all officials concerned should discharge their duties with utmost dedication.

The IMD today issued an alert forecasting that several parts of north India could witness thunderstorm and squall tomorrow with winds gusting up to 50-70 kilometers per hour.

The IMD issued an amber-coloured alert, indicating severe weather, for parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Chandigarh, western Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim and West Bengal.

Several parts of these states could witness thunderstorm and squall with winds gusting up to 50-70 kilometers per hour, the alert said.

Meanwhile, Director of the Chandigarh MeT Department Surinder Paul said that rainfall activity is likely to pick up in the region from tonight.

“There is no need to panic, but we need to be watchful and remain alert,” Paul said.

Notably, the Haryana government had ordered closure of schools on May 7 and 8, with Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma yesterday saying that the decision had been taken in view of the MeT warning.

While there were no instructions by the authorities to close schools in Chandigarh, but some schools took the decision on their own and announced a holiday today as a precautionary measure.

Many schools here announced a holiday minutes before the educational institutes were to open, forcing many students to return to their homes.

Meanwhile, the weather remained generally dry today and winds remained calm in most parts of Punjab and Haryana.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.