25 killed, highways blocked as rains pound J&K, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab
In Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district at least 29 people were rescued Monday morning after they were stranded in flash floods following incessant rains.Updated: Sep 24, 2018, 21:05 IST
Heavy rains and cloudbursts in parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana killed 25 people, triggered flash floods and landslides that blocked highways and damaged houses and crops, said officials on Monday.
At least five people of a family, including three minors, were killed in a landslide in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir and a woman and youth in the state’s Kathua district.
In Himachal Pradesh, three people were washed away near Manali late on Sunday night when their vehicle fell into the swollen Beas river. Two people were washed away in the Parbati river in Manikaran valley, while a girl died near Bajaura. A man was drowned in a swollen rivulet near Palampur town in Kangra district while another was killed when a building was washed away in Una district.
In Punjab, a total of six people died in rain-related incidents — three in Kapurthala, two in Amritsar and an 8-month-old girl in Jalandhar. A brother-sister duo and a labourer died in separate roof-collapse incidents in Kapurthala, while a 43-year-old man and his 12-year-old son were killed when the car they were travelling in plunged into a rivulet in Amritsar’s Khiala village on Sunday night.
An 8-month-old girl died in Jalandhar after she fell off the bench on which she was put to sleep and drowned as the area was flooded. The infant was the daughter of a couple from Rajasthan.
In Haryana, four people were killed in rain-related accidents on Monday. Three people were killed in roof-collapse incidents in Karnal, Kurukshetra and Ambala districts, while a woman was killed and seven others were injured when a tree fell on the vehicle they were travelling in on the Ambala-Naraingarh road.
In Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua, at least 29 people were rescued after they were stranded in flash floods following incessant rains. The gates of Ranjit Sagar Dam were opened to release excess water following heavy and incessant rainfall, deputy commissioner Rohit Khajuria told ANI.
Heavy rain lashed several areas of Himachal Pradesh on Monday. A high alert has been sounded in the worst-hit Kullu district while heavy landslides hit vehicular movement on the Chandigarh-Manali highway beyond Mandi town and on the Pathankot-Chamba highway.
Many roads including several national highways have been blocked due to landslides across the state. The tourist town of Manali has been cut off from district headquarters Kullu and rest of the state after the overflowing Beas river submerged roads on both sides after torrential rain during the last 24 hours.
Yunus Khan, deputy commissioner of Kullu, issued a ‘high alert’ warning the public not to go near rivers and rivulets as a flood-like situation prevailed. On the state government’s request, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has stationed a chopper in Kullu town to deal with any emergency.
The IAF rescued two persons who were stranded near in Kullu’s Nagwain area due to flash floods. On Sunday, an IAF helicopter had rescued 19 people stranded at Dobi in Kullu.
A truck and a bus were washed away on Sunday even when the water level in the Beas river rose sharply near Aut on the Manali-Chandigarh highway. The highway has also been blocked at Dwada.
Late on Sunday, district authorities in Kullu rescued 22 people who were stuck at Raisan near Manali while 26 people were rescued from Dobhi. The Army has been called to rescue two persons stranded due to flash floods in Kangra district where widespread damage has also been reported, an official said Monday.
Two scooters and a car were washed away in the flash floods in the area, he said. Schools in most districts were closed Monday and will be closed on Tuesday too. Authorities opened the gates of four dams — Larji, Pandoh and Sanan in Mandi and Chamera in Chamba — which worsened the situation downstream.
Chamba district has also seen much damage while at least half a dozen villages have been evacuated near Chamba town and students of Jawahar Navodya Vidyalya (JNV) at Sarol have also been shifted to other places.
Follow live updates here: Flash floods, landslides hit J&K and Himachal Pradesh, schools in many areas shut
The higher reaches of Kullu, Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti districts experienced snowfall. Keylong town in Lahaul-Spiti district saw over two feet of snow.
In Lahaul and Spiti, nine researchers from West Bengal who had gone to 5480-meter high Gangstang glacier have reportedly gone missing. Efforts are on to trace them. Five faculty members of the Indian Institute of Technology-Mandi went missing in the Chandratal, where they had gone there for trekking.
In the wake of heavy rains, a ‘red alert’ was also issued in Punjab where educational institutes have been ordered to remain closed on Tuesday.
The Punjab government has asked district authorities to maintain vigil to avert any untoward situation due to heavy rains, an official said. The army has also been asked to be on stand by.
Chief minister Amarinder Singh called an emergency meeting where he asked ministers and MLAs to tour their constituencies to assess the ground situation and tie up with departments concerned to redress people’s hardships.
With the standing paddy and cotton crop almost ready to harvest, farmers said their crop was damaged due to the unseasonal rain.
In Chandigarh, traffic was affected as water accumulated at many places in the city. Complaints of water-logging were also received by authorities in the adjoining towns of Panchkula (Haryana) and Mohali (Punjab).
Meanwhile, the union territory’s administration on Monday opened two of the three flood gates of Sukhna lake where the water level reached the danger mark. The gates have been opened after a decade.