After the season's first snowfall of the state, several areas in the state plunged into darkness due to collapsed power transmission lines. Power supply remained disrupted even on Saturday night due to thunderstorms.
Most areas of Shimla, Kinnaur, Lahaul & Spiti, Kullu and Sirmaur district are still without electricity even a day after the snowfall. As a result residents are facing connectivity problems in several areas. Even government officials failed to contact field offices for snow related reports. Besides power lines, telephone services have also been disrupted in rural areas.
In Shimla district heavy snowfall snapped power supply in Rohru, Dodrakwar, Kharapathar, Jubbal, Nawar, Kotkhari, Theog, Narkanda, Baghi, Kumarsain, Kotgarh, Nankhari areas. Even in the state capital supply was intermittent. On Sunday several parts of the town went without power.
Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board chairman-cum MD PC Negi said several transmission lines collapsed resulting in disruption of power supply. “In the higher reaches several transformers have been damaged and it will take a few days to restore power supply. Due to the heavy snow, power transmission lines and poles have been damaged at several places. Some areas are inaccessible by road and all the material for repairing have to be carried manually, so it will take a few days,” he added.
A main 66 kV transmission line from the Nogli substation to Samoli of Rohru has been damaged near Sungri and the place is inaccessible by road. People in Rohru and surrounding areas have been without power since Saturday night. “There is no electricity and phone batteries are about to die.
We have heard that it would take few days to resume the power supply but it is difficult to live without power for days,” said Lekh Raj from Rohru.
Negi added heavy snow had caused damage to electricity poles and transformers besides the main power line. “Since road are blocked at Kharapathar and some other places, repair work cannot be started immediately, and in rural areas, all the material needs to be carried manually which will take some time,” he added.
Vikrant Kapta of Nawar valley said the snowfall was “good” for apple orchards but it had also brought several problems. “Power disruption has become an issue every time and the government is usually caught unaware every winter season,” he said, adding there were some places where power lines got damaged every year but the government had not done anything about it.
Power remained disrupted in the tourist town of Manali and some areas of Kullu, Kinnaur, Mandi and Sirmaur districts. “The 132 kV transmission line from Larji to Banjar is damaged near Kangu, resulting in a power outage in the Kullu region, while the transmission line from Nathpa to Kotla has also been damaged due to heavy snow in the tribal Kinnaur district,” Negi added.
Road connectivity also remained an issue as without it repair work could not be started.
Though National Highway 22 was cleared of snow till Narkanda by Monday evening but work on the road connecting Rohru to Shimla was still on. “There is around 3 feet of snow in Narkanda and work is continuing to restore vehicular traffic on NH 22 and the Shimla Rohru road via Kharapathar,” said chief engineer (south) MS Thakur. “Work is on to restore vehicular traffic and most of roads would be cleared of snow by today (Tuesday) evening,” he added.