Heavy rain wreaked havoc in lower areas of the district on Saturday morning, following which the Chandigarh-Kala Amb-Dehradun national highway remained closed for over 15 hours due to landslides at various places between Dosarka (Nahan) and Paonta Sahib, stranding more than 300 vehicles.
Efforts to restore traffic on the highway began at 9.30am. Sources said the administration had to deploy private JCB machines as officials from the public works department (PWD) and the national highway were not available to help restore the traffic.
A cloudburst-like situation was created near Dosarka, where assistant sub-inspector (ASI) Parkash Singh and board employee Inder Singh were injured when a temporary shed housing the marketing board office collapsed. Quick action by home guards saved the life of Inder Singh, who had got buried under the debris.
According to Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) officials, buses had to be diverted to their destinations via Chandigarh as the state highway connecting the district headquarters with the state capital remained closed for six hours. Besides, almost all routes in remote areas of the district were blocked, stranding nine buses.
Power supply to the town remained suspended for 13 hours after uprooted trees and landslides damaged the supply line from Girinagar to Kala Amb. Electricity board officials said they were assessing the loss.
Saying that houses in Shambuwala, Bolyion and Makkarwali villages in the Nahan block had been damaged, Nahan MLA Rajeev Bindal demanded compensation for the victims.
Deputy commissioner (DC) Vikas Labroo admitted that there was delay in restoring traffic on the national highway as the officers of PWD and national highway were not available. He added that the loss was being estimated.
"The administration rescued 20 persons stuck in their houses in the flashfloods in Gulabgarh village in Paonta Sahib, and five people were rescued near Bata Bridge, which was partially damaged after the river overflowed," he added.
Paonta Sahib sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Sharavan Manta said people living near rivers and khuds had been asked to evacuate.