MANALI: Heavy snowfall, landslides and floods have brought disaster to the Himachal Pradesh. Most of the highways and link roads have been blocked, flights have been cancelled, hundreds of tourists are stranded on highways and many trekkers, shepherds have been feared trapped between snows in mountains.
Rohtang pass has received more than one foot snow and entire Lahaul-Spiti district has been covered with a thick blanket of snow. Manali-Leh highway has been blocked following heavy snowfall on Rohtang and Baralacha-la. Highway is damaged by landslides at many places. Hundreds of vehicles carrying tourists are reportedly stranded between Aut and Mandi after landslides on Chandigarh-Manali national highway No 21 since Saturday morning. In Thalout, flooded river Beas has engulfed about 15 meter stretch of highway. Meanwhile dozens of trekkers and shepherds with thousands of sheep are feared trapped between blizzards on mountains. The exact figure could only be known after the snowfall would stop.
Mandi deputy commissioner Devesh Kumar said heavy rain since past 24 hours has wreaked disaster in the district. “It’s raining hard here. A person is reported dead in Aut who attempted to reach near flooded river and a rock hit him. Some huts near Mandi temple have been washed away by river and landslides are blocking the highways repeatedly since Friday night,” he said. He added that police force, SDMs and all officials have been deployed to check the disasters caused by nature’s fury.
Kullu deputy commissioner BM Nanta said Manali-Leh highway has been closed for the safety of people. He said, “Rohtang has been experiencing heavy snowfall. A woman is killed after a rock hit her in a remote village of Manikaran Valley. Currently there is no more bad news from the district.”
About 50 foreigners are reported to be stranded in Lahaul-Spiti and Sarchu near Baralacha-la. Communication mediums in district have been snapped after power failure since Friday. District chief medical officer Shamsher Singh Pujara said, “Cold waves are back here. Roads have been blocked from both sides. Two to eight inch of snow has covered entire district. It may prove fatal for apple, peas and all other cash crops.”