Continuous rain for the past 24 hours wreaked havoc in tribal Kinnaur district, Himachal Pradesh, which has been cut off from the rest of the state, following road blockades at several places.
As many as 1,000 tourists have been stranded in Kinnaur. A resident of Urni village, Ram Bhagat Negi, died when the car he was travelling in was hit by a boulder near Choltu in Kinnaur on Sunday. Another occupant sustained serious injuries in the incident.
Chief minister Virbhadra Singh on election tour to Kinnaur was also stranded in Sangla as roads leading to the scenic village were blocked due to landslides at several places. The chief minister was scheduled to address a public meeting at Kalpa.
"It has been raining continuously in Kinnaur. We have requested the election commission to permit helicopter for Sangla village for evacuation of the chief minister," said VC Pharkha, principal secretary to the chief minister.
More than 500 tourists are stranded at Sangla village and 200 at Kalpa village.
Deputy commissioner JM Pathania said, "We have asked the HP government to provide us a chopper for evacuation of tourists, patients and students. Technical snags in BSNL towers have aggravated the situation in Kinnaur. Fixed line telephones are not working and people are only dependent on cellular services."
Chief secretary Sudripta Roy said the state government had already sought helicopters from the private air carrier to airlift people.
Heavy rain in Kinnaur led to flash floods in Tapri suburb. More than a dozen shops got damaged in the flash floods.
Four private residences were also partially damaged in Tapri. Besides, cranes also got partially buried under slurry.
"The rescue teams could not reach Tapri owing to road blockades," said superintendent of police G Shivakumar.
The Hindustan-Tibet road leading to the China border along Kinnaur is blocked at nearly a dozen points. The district administration has sought assistance from the army and the Border Roads Organisation for clearing the roads at the earliest. Villages at higher reaches, including Thangi, Labrag, Chitkul and Raksham, experienced fresh snowfall.
Box: 1,500 MW power project shut down
Shimla: In wake of heavy silting caused by flashfloods in Kinnaur, the 1,500 MW Nathpa Jhakri power project was shut down on Sunday evening.
The project, which is situated 9 km downstream Tapri, is one of the biggest hydel projects in the country.
The project operated by the Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam supplies electricity to nine northern states, including Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Delhi and Chandigarh. "The silt level also rose to over 5,000 ppm due to heavy rain," said Vijay Verma, deputy general manager, SJVNL.