Himachal Pradesh floods: 20 dead in 48 hours, over 1,000 roads blocked


Incessant rain, leading to flash floods and landslides has ravaged Himachal Pradesh with several tourists stranded in the hill state amid massive damage to roads and infrastructure.

Chief minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said Tuesday that the government is working hard to restore road transport and power supply, while his deputy Mukesh Agnihotri said that the situation is expected to return to normalcy in the next 72 hours. The monsoon mayhem in the state has claimed the lives of about 20 people in the past 48 hours while the damage to infrastructure is estimated at between ₹3,000 crore and ₹4,000 crore.

CM Sukhu conducted an aerial survey of affected areas on Tuesday and informed that six helicopters had been deployed to carry out rescue operations for stranded tourists and locals. Many areas, including Shimla reported disruption to water supply and connectivity issues.

The deputy commissioner of Kullu said Wednesday via a Facebook post that the connectivity to Kasol/Parvati valley is expected to be restored by tonight or tomorrow morning. He also said that the connectivity to Sainj and Tirthan villages is also being restored on “war footing.” Earlier, he had informed that these areas reported limited connectivity, however, everyone is safe and no untoward incident was reported so far. More than 1,000 roads are inaccessible due to the prevailing situation.

CM Sukhu, in a Twitter post earlier this morning, informed that 800 people were evacuated from Kasol and Manikaran via pickup jeeps last night. “A 300-meter stretch at Dunkhara of the road connecting Kasol/Manikaran to Bhuntar has been washed away. Efforts are being made to quickly restore this road…,” his tweet read. A statement from the chief minister’s office also read “…more than 2200 vehicles have passed through Kullu from Manali so far and food is being distributed to them at Ramshilla Chowk. The CM is monitoring the situation.”

Meanwhile, 15 Russian tourists are reportedly stranded in Kasol and efforts are being made to contact them. Acting DGP of Himachal Pradesh, Satwant Atwal Trivedi told news agency ANI Tuesday “We received information from the Russian embassy that 15 tourists are stranded in Kasol. We are trying to establish contact and then we will inform the embassy about their well-being.”

Officials also said that the tourist vehicles stranded in Lahaul were evacuated last night, while Sukhu said a total of 2000 people stranded in Kasol have been evacuated so far. Sadar Vyas Relief Camp has been established to assist the stranded people, where arrangements have been made to accommodate 200 to 300 people.

Due to lost connectivity issues, many people were unable to to contact their friends and relatives and took to social media to amplify messages to locate them. The state police also released contact numbers Tuesday, asking people to provide the last location or place of stay of their friends or family stuck in the state, in a bid to escalate rescue efforts.

State minister Jagat Singh Negi told ANI that the Manali-Chandigarh national highway has been damaged due to the flash floods and water and electricity supply have been disrupted. “Manali has suffered significant damage…houses, land have been destroyed, and the national highway is damaged due to flash floods. The link road adjacent to the bridge is also badly damaged. There is no net connectivity, electricity and water. We have made arrangements to provide food to the stranded tourists,” Negi said. Meanwhile, CM Sukhu informedTuesday that power supply has been partially restored in Kullu and Manali.

The Nurpur police said Wednesday that Pandoh dam in Mandi will be release more water from 6 pm today to 3 pm tomorrow due to the rain mayhem. “People are urged not to go near low-lying areas like rivers, drains and dams for the next few days”, the police was quoted as saying by ANI.

The non-stop rains are occurring due to the unusual interaction between a western disturbance and the monsoon trough. As a result, northern India, mainly Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Haryana are ravaged due to monsoon mayhem.

The India meteorological department on Tuesday warned of moderate to heavy rainfall in various districts for the next few days. The weather body said more rains are likely in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh from tomorrow as monsoon trough has moved eastwards.