With the mercury dipping to 1.7 degrees Celsius, normal life remains badly affected in the city of Taj.

In view of the severe cold, district authorities have revised school timings. Schools will now start at 9.30 am. instead of 8.30 am.

“Extreme cold conditions during the morning and evening hours force people to rush back home and stay indoors,” said a shopkeeper of Johri Bazar Bankey Lal.

However, owing to the holiday season, the tourist rush continues to remain high with over 50,000 visiting the Taj Mahal on Saturday.

“But people are avoiding late evening outings. The Agra Municipal Corporation has provided gas heaters at road crossings and the night shelters run by a local NGO, Sri Nathji Nishulk Jal Sewa, are full to capacity,” said Sudheir Gupta, a resident of Vijay Nagar Colony.

Voluntary groups are distributing blankets, woollens, and eatables to the homeless, Gupta added.

Potato growers across the district, too, face challenging conditions. The fear of being hit by frosty conditions that could devastate their crops in the fields looms large.

The district agriculture department has circulated instructions listing out precautionary measures that farmers should take to protect their crops.