Staff Correspondent

The 320-km Hindustan-Tibet road and the 13,050-foot high Rohtang Pass closed to vehicular traffic

DEHRA DUN: Heavy snowfall has been reported from Chakrata, Dhanaulti and Pithoragarh areas along with widespread rain all over Uttaranchal. While the snow in Dhanaulti near Mussoorie has attracted tourists, snow and rain in other places is seen as good for the crops in a region that had not had much rain over the past two months. The tourist rush is on the increase in Mussoorie and Naini Tal with people rushing to these hill stations anticipating snowfall in the coming days. The hotel occupancy rates have registered a steady increase over the past three days and more people are expected to reach these areas, a leading hotelier said.

UNI reports from Shimla: Normal life in Kinnuar, Lahual and Spiti, Kullu, Chamba and Shimla districts of Himachal Pradesh was affected due to heavy snowfall, while rains lashed the lower areas of the State since Monday night, bringing a sharp drop in the maximum and minimum temperatures.

The twin tribal districts of Kinnuar and Lahaul and Spiti were experiencing intermittent snowfall for the second day on Tuesday, with Keylong, headquarter of Lahaul and Spiti district, and Kalpa in Kinnuar district recording seven inches and 20 cms snowfall since last night.

The 320 km Hindustan-Tibet road had also been closed to vehicular traffic due to snowfall and the traffic to higher areas of the district has been diverted via Mashobra and Naldehra.

Several high mountain peaks, Baralacha Pass and Kibber village, the highest village of the world situated at an altitude of 16000-foot, were also experiencing snowfall.

The maximum and minimum temperatures in the district were between minus five and minus 15, freezing several natural lakes in the district.

The 13,050-foot high Rohtang Pass, which is also called the gateway to the district, has been closed after the region received over a foot of snowfall since last night.

Reports from Kinnuar district said Kalpa and Rekong Peo towns were receiving intermittent snowfall since last evening with Kalpa in the district recording over 20 cms snow.

Kinner Kailash, Thulla and Sangla-Kanda peaks were experiencing a fresh spell of snowfall, bringing a sharp drop in the minimum and maximum temperatures in the district.

The minimum temperature recorded at Chitkul village in the district was minus 12 degrees Celsius, while the maximum was minus one degree Celsius at Kalpa.

Reports of snowfall are also received from the tourist place of Sangla in the district.

Kothi, the last village of Kullu district towards the Rohtang Pass, had also recorded 10 inches of snow, disrupting vehicular traffic beyond the village.

Air, road traffic hit

Chandigarh: Two persons died due to cold in Bathinda and Amritsar as intense chill gripped most places in Punjab and surrounding areas.

Fog made a comeback in the northern region disrupting road, air, and train traffic. Indian, Jet Airways and Air Deccan did not operate their flights to Chandigarh owing to ''bad weather conditions here''.

An Air Deccan official said its Delhi-Chandigarh-Jammu afternoon flight hovered over the airspace here for a while, but could not land due to poor visibility.

A report from Bathinda said the body of a man identified as Sukhbir Singh was found lying in the town's Udham Singh market. An unidentified beggar also died due to cold in Amritsar.

Road traffic was also affected at many places in Punjab and Haryana due to poor visibility and many motorists could be seen plying their vehicles with headlights on during day time.