All major highways continue to remain shut in Himachal Pradesh due to flash floods, landslides
Reports said that around 200 trucks, carrying supplies to Leh and Ladakh, besides tourists’ vehicles have been stuck on the highway since Sunday between Manali and Sarchu.Updated: Aug 20, 2019 10:10 IST
Over 670 roads, including major highways, across Himachal Pradesh continue to remain partially or completely blocked due to landslides and flash floods triggered by heavy rains across various parts of the hill state in the past two days.
Traffic towards 13,050 feet-high Rohtang pass—the gateway to tribal Lahaul and Spiti district— was suspended as the local streams continue to remain in spate.
“Leh-Manali highway has been closed for vehicular traffic due to landslides and flash floods at several places, including Pagal Nullah, Koksar, Bharatpur, Rohtang and Sarchu,” Kullu superintendent of police Gaurav Singh said.
“The traffic will be restored once the debris are cleared,” he added.
Reports said that around 200 trucks, carrying supplies to Leh and Ladakh, besides tourists’ vehicles have been stuck on the highway since Sunday betweenManali and Sarchu.
Police, army and local administration have launched a rescue operation to evacuate the tourists to safer places.
“The operations continued till late Sunday night. The army deployed its vehicles to rescue tourist, en route to Ladakh, stranded at several points after the water-level increased tremendously in Pagal and Telling nullah where slush is flowing continuously. Intermittent rains have further hampered the road clearance,” said 38 Border Road Task Force commander Uma Shankar.
The strategically-important Leh-Manali highway spans over a length of 479 kilometers and passes through some of the world’s highest mountain passes in the world, averaging well over 17,000 feet. The highway is used by the armed forces to reach forward areas in Ladakh bordering China and Pakistan.
The Hindustan Tibet national highway (NH 5), connecting frontiers along China border, was also blocked for traffic at Powari in Kinnaur district due to landslides.
Traffic remained suspended on National Highway 3 connecting Kiratpur to Manali as the roads have caved in at several places owing to flash floods triggered by heavy spell.
“Beas river is flowing above the danger level. In many areas like Aut in Mandi district, the roads have completely deluged in the river,” SP Gaurav Singh said.
A 3km-long stretch on the highway connecting Kullu to Manali has been damaged and the traffic is being diverted through Naggar, 23 kilometers from Kullu. The Averi-Bajirbody road and the Bajaura-Kataula road near Ropa area of Kullu district were also blocked following massive landslides.
Chandigarh-Manali highway restored
Meanwhile, traffic on Chandigarh-Manali national highway (NH 21) was restored on Monday evening after remaining suspended for 44 hours as the highway along the swollen Beas river was submerged in water near Dwada.
Light vehicles were diverted through Mandi-Kataula-Bajaura-Kullu road while heavy vehicles, including trucks carrying supply to Leh and tourists Volvo buses, which were stranded on both the sides of the highway, were cleared Monday morning.
Owing to landslips and road damage, traffic from Dharamshla to Shimla via Hamirpur has been diverted via Bhota-patta and Ukhli, on way to Shimla via Ghumarwin. The bridge near Mair village of Hamirpur district on the national highway was also damaged.
Hamirpur DSP (Leave Reserve), Renu Sharma said police personnel have been deployed on both sides of the road near Ukhli and Bhota to guide the commuters to take the alternate route.
Several roads remained blocked in Chamba district too.
The Chamba-Pathankot road was blocked at Parihar and the Chamba-Chowari road via Jot at Bhatalwan Ghar and Mathunu.
The Lahru-Sihunta road was blocked at Lahri Bhatti near Lahru and the Lahru-Tunnuhatti road at Barian Gala.
The Kihar-Chamba road was blocked at Gharatnala and Rohala Nullah near Sundla, the Tissa-Chamba road at Pangola Nullah, and the Chamba-Pangi road at Saach Pass.
Rail traffic disrupted
Rail traffic bound for Himachal Pradesh beyond Ropar town in Punjab has been snapped since Sunday owing to damage to the tracks, officials said. Twelve trains were suspended.
Train services between Shimla and Kalka, which were disrupted on Sunday after landslips, was normal.
Meanwhile, chief minister Jai Ram Thakur on Monday held an emergency video conferencing with deputy commissioners of all the 12 district to asses the damages. The government has estimated a loss of ₹560 crore due to rains.
The district of Hamirpur alone suffered a loss of ₹7.87 crore due to heavy rains during last twenty-four hours, deputy commissioner Harikesh Meena said.
“The total loss to the government and private properties during the current monsoon season was around ₹65.38 crore,” he said, adding that timely relief has been provided to the affected persons.