Landslides leave tourists on Manali NH for 24 hours

KULLU/JAMMU: Hundreds of tourists and locals were left stranded in cars and buses in Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh the past 24 hours as the Chandigarh-Manali highway remained closed till Monday evening as heavy rain battered the hill state, which has recorded at least nine deaths in flash floods and landslides in the past three days.
Rajasthan reported four fatalities – including a 10-year-old girl – in lightning strikes as monsoon touched some more parts of the state Monday.
In J&K, the 250km Jammu-Srinagar national highway, the lone all-weather road linking the valley with the rest of the country, as well as the alternative Mughal Road, were closed till Monday afternoon because of landslides and stones shooting down hillsides at multiple places, including the Mehad area of Ramban.
"NH-44 blocked…. People are advised not to travel till restoration work is completed," the J&K traffic police tweeted. Workers managed to clear the Srinagar highway partially for one-way traffic by 2pm.
Rains hit HP power grid, plunges 3 districts into darkness
The busy Chandigarh-Manali highway, where hundred of tourists have been stuck for over 24 hours, was among 301 roads closed in Himachal Pradesh since Sunday because of landslides and flash floods. The alternative route of Kullu-Bajaura-Kataula-Mandi was blocked too.
A traffic snarl stretching several km was seen near Pandoh, a landslide-prone area, and tourists trying to escape the rain-soaked hills were forced to spend the night in their vehicles on this stretch of the Chandigarh-Manali highway. Many were seen walking several kilometres in a desperate search for eateries. The road was cleared partially by Monday evening and opened for small vehicles. Authorities in Kullu said the rain and size of debris slowed down workers and machines clearing the highway. "The boulders are so huge that some of them may have to be blasted with dynamites," an official said.
The State Disaster Management Authority gave a break-up of the rain-related death count: one died in a landslide, three drowned, two fell from steep rocks, another three in road accidents. The weather office has forecast more rain in the region.
The IMD said the southwest monsoon further advanced into some more parts of north Arabian Sea, Gujarat, Haryana and Punjab, and remaining parts of J&K and Ladakh. An orange alert, warning heavy to extremely heavy rainfall, was issued for isolated places in Madhya Pradesh till Tuesday morning. The rain has hit the power grid in Himachal, taking down as many as 140 transformers and plunging Sirmaur, Chamba and Mandi districts into darkness. Seven water supply schemes were also affected, while flash floods near Baggi in Mandi district Monday damaged a number of houses. According to the SDMA, the estimated value of losses from two days of rain in Himachal was more than Rs 101 crore.
Watch Landslide in Himachal: Several tourists stranded, vehicles stuck, no hotel rooms as Mandi-Kullu highway blocked, operation underway to clear debris

The Open Magazine of India by Artmotion Network (

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