At least 16 people were killed following heavy rainfall in Himachal Pradesh over the past 24 hours, officials said Monday. The government has released Rs 96.50 crore for relief and launched rescue operations across the state.
The state’s chief secretary has directed the deputy commissioners to ensure that educational institutes remain shut Tuesday. As per the state government, after 923 roads were closed due to landslides in the state, including six national highways, the state’s public works department has deployed machinery to make these roads usable again as soon as possible.
On Monday, the vehicular and rail traffic between Chandigarh and Shimla was badly hit, following landslides at multiple places on the route. A total of 12 trains operating between Kalka-Shimla were cancelled, railway officials said. A statement issued by the state government Monday evening said of the total 16 deaths reported so far, one casualty each is reported from Bilaspur and Una districts, while two deaths were reported in Hamirpur district. Four and eight deaths have taken place in Mandi and Solan district respectively.
Officials said deputy commissioners have been asked to ensure that no tourist or local person goes along river banks and also to keep a close vigil on trekking activities. “Adequate manpower and machinery had been deployed to restore the roads, water and electricity supply and funds have been released to deputy commissioners and departments concerned and there was no shortage of essential commodities in any part of the state,” said the statement.
Kullu deputy commissioner said the Manali national highway was blocked due to frequent landslides and efforts were on to clear the roads on priority.
No train plied on Kalka- Shimla route on Monday after landslides were reported.
A statement issued by the Northern Railways Ambala division, which manages the Chandigarh- Kalka rail service, said blockage of tracks blocking due to landslides was reported at 24 places. Officials said 12 trains were cancelled and the restoration work is expected to finish by 2 pm on Tuesday.
A weather department official said that the rainfall in Shimla, broke an 11-year record and in last 24 hours, 173 mm rain was recorded. Officials said that in 2007, 122 mm rain was recorded.
On Monday, the national highway that connects Chandigarh to Shimla saw multiple landslides, disrupting the traffic. Hundreds of vehicles, mostly tourists and trucks carrying apples, remained stranded for several hours on the route.
“We left Shimla around 5 am Monday and we have now reached close to Parwanoo after travelling over 10 hours. There were multiple landslides on the route,” said Jasbir Singh, a resident of Delhi who was stranded near Chakki Mor in Solan for a few hours along with his family.
According to police, multiple landslides occurred on the stretch between Parwanoo and Solan in the past 12 hours.
SP Solan Madhusudan Sharma told The Indian Express that traffic movement was slow on the route. “The first landslide started around 3 am. Since then, efforts are on to clear the road. Continuous landslides happening in the area is hampering the work,” he said.