The incessant rain lashing Himachal Pradesh have caused the death of at least 18 people in the past 24 hours and left several people stranded as many roads, including national highways, have been damaged due to landslides.
Three more deaths were reported in the State, but official confirmation was yet to be made by the authorities.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said on August 18 that all Deputy Commissioners have been directed to keep a close vigil on the situation and ensure safety of both the local people as well as the tourists. “Tourists have also been advised to stay away from river beds as there is always the possibility of sudden rise in water levels due to flash floods,” he said. The State had suffered a loss of about ₹490 crore in this monsoon season, the Chief Minister said.
“Lahaul and Spiti district witnessed untimely snow yesterday and this morning due to which there has been heavy damage to crops,” he said.
Chief Secretary B.K. Agarwal told The Hindu that two national highways — Chandigarh-Manali and Shimla-Kinnaur — have been blocked due to landslides.
50-60 people hailing from the neighbouring Uttarakhand were stranded on the border, near Rohru, he said, adding, “We have sent our teams to rescue them after a request was received from the Uttarakhand government.”
Heavy to very heavy rainfall occurred at many places over the State. There was extremely heavy rainfall at one or two places in the districts of Bilaspur, Shimla and Sirmaur in the past 24 hours, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD). Naina Devi in Bilaspur district recorded 360 mm of rainfall, the highest in the State during the period.
There were reports of stranded vehicles near Bilaspur on the Chandigarh-Manali highway. “We are making efforts to restore traffic. However, traffic on both Chandigarh-Manali and Shimla-Kinnaur highways are yet to be restored,” he said.
In Punjab, which is on high alert due to heavy rains, 81 low-lying and flood-prone villages in Phillaur, Nakodar and Shahkot villages in Jalandhar district have been ordered to be evacuated in the wake of the release of 1,89,940 cusec of water from the Ropar Headwork.
Eight people died in Shimla, two each in Kullu, Sirmaur, Solan and Chamba and one each in Una and Lahaul-Spiti districts, they added.
Landslides hit a spot near the RTO office in Shimla, leaving three persons dead.
One person sustained injuries in the incident, police said.
In Narkand area of Shimla district, two Nepalese died and three were injured after a tree fell on their house.
In another incident, a labourer was killed and six others were injured as the wall of a house collapsed in the Lower Cemetery area following heavy rainfall early on August 18, police said.
The deceased has been identified as Shah Alam, who hailed from Bihar’s Kishanganj district.
In another incident, a man was killed after a landslide hit his truck on the national highway near Hatkoti Kenchi in Shimla’s Rohru subdivision.
In Chamba district, two persons were killed in a house collapse. The incident took place at Lona in Mehla subdivision at 3.30 a.m., killing a 70-year-old man and a 7-year-old child, Chamba SP Monica Bhutunguru said.
In Kullu, a man was washed away in Sujwad Nullah when locals were trying to rescue him.
The deceased has been identified as Chooni Lal.
Besides, a tourist died due to a landslide in Balarga between Manikaran and Barsheni, Kullu Deputy Commissioner Richa Verma said.
In Solan district, two persons were killed in a building collapse at Manakpura in Baddi tehsil.