Landslide at Theog: Shimla-Kinnaur highway blocked, vehicles stranded
Heavy rains and landslides have disrupted traffic on the Hindustan-Tibet road in Himachal Pradesh, with several tourist buses and trucks stranded. Another landslide has been reported from Tholong village in the border district of Lahaul-Spiti, affecting traffic, while 19 roads have been closed due to bad weather in the area. Himachal Pradesh has suffered losses of INR200 crore ($27m) in three months due to rain, hailstorm and snowfall, with 284 lives lost.
A major landslide on Thursday disrupted traffic on the Hindustan-Tibet road near Theog that connects apple-growing areas of Rohru, Jubbal, Kotkhai and Chopal to the rest of Himachal Pradesh.
“There is a continuous landslide in the area. A team of the public works department’s mechanical division is at the spot,” said Shimla superintendent of police Sanjeev Gandhi.
Several tourist buses and trucks laden with vegetables are stranded on the route, he said, adding that police are making arrangements to divert traffic through lateral routes.
Another landslide was reported from Tholong village in the border district of Lahaul-Spiti, officials said. “Traffic movement in the area has been affected. The Border Roads Organisation is working to clear the stretch,” the State Emergency Operation Centre said in a statement. In the wake of the inclement weather, the authorities reviewed the status of the National Disaster Relief Force in the state.
Chief secretary Prabodh asked deputy commissioners to push the forest department for clearing 12 objections for seeking mandatory forest clear approval within two weeks. The government had approved 27.57 hectares in Mandi for setting up the NDRF headquarters.
The NDRF director general, its 14 Battalion commandant, the DCs of Shimla and Mandi besides representatives of the forest department attended the meeting. In three months, Himachal Pradesh has suffered ₹200 crore losses due to rain, hailstorm and snowfall.
As many as 284 lives have been lost during this period. A maximum of 45 casualties were reported from Shimla district followed by 41 from Mandi and 37 each from Sirmaur and Solan.
The state received 104.1mm of rainfall in April, an excess of 63%. The state got 22% excess rain this month as on May 24.
The loss to the horticulture department due to the inclement weather has been to the tune of nearly ₹100 crore, while the agriculture department suffered a loss of ₹54.92 crore and Jal Shakti department ₹24.18 crore.
A total of 177 houses were damaged besides 38 shops and 80 cow sheds.
19 roads closed due to bad weather
Moderate to heavy rains, accompanied by lightning and thunderstorm, lashed several parts of Himachal Pradesh on Thursday, triggering landslides and disrupting vehicular traffic and power supply.
A total of 19 roads were closed due to inclement weather in the last few days. A maximum of 11 roads were closed for vehicular traffic in Sirmaur, three in Kullu, two each in Chamba and Shimla and one road was closed in Kangra. A total of 171 transformers were also disrupted. Shimla and its surrounding areas witnessed heavy rain accompanied by strong winds in the afternoon.
The day temperatures crashed by a few degrees. Una recorded a high of 31.4 degrees Celsius, 6.6 notches below normal. The local meteorological centre has issued a “yellow” warning of thunderstorm and lightning at isolated places from May 26 to 28.