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Himachal Pradesh: Mandi-Kullu National Highway reopens, traffic movement resumes

Heavy rainfall in Himachal Pradesh's Mandi district led to a series of landslides on the Chandigarh-Manali highway near 7 Mile causing a heavy traffic jam.

Edited By: Raju Kumar @rajudelhi123 Mandi (HP) Updated on: June 26, 2023 21:09 IST
Heavy traffic on national highways due to landslides
Image Source : PTI Heavy traffic on national highways due to landslides

Himachal rains: The Chandigarh-Manali national highway was shut down as a result of flash floods and landslides, leaving hundreds of commuters stranded in the Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh, according to officials on Monday. 

They stated that the 70-kilometer Mandi-Pandoh-Kullu stretch has been severely affected. After heavy rains, 301 roads in the state are closed, and 140 power transformers are down.

Due to a heavy downpour, Khotinallah near Aut, 40 kilometers from Mandi town, on the Pandoh-Kullu stretch, experienced flash floods, leaving commuters stranded since Sunday evening.

According to Mandi administration officials, the alternative Mandi-Kullu route via Katola, which had been blocked by a landslide, has been opened after nearly 20 hours. Small vehicles are now being diverted through this section.

A landslide blocked the Mandi-Pandoh route near 6 Miles. According to the officials, restoration work is currently underway, and heavy boulders obstructing this stretch of road are being demolished with explosives. They stated that one-way traffic will likely resume on this stretch within an hour or two.

However, the rains have resumed, and other parts of the district are reporting landslides.

 
The officials added that until the road is opened, commuters should stay away from Mandi.

We've been trapped here since last night, so it's a terrifying experience. Mohit, a tourist from Chandigarh, stated, "There are few hotels and other places to stay nearby."

He added that despite the fact that the road is blocked and the police and administration have stopped traffic at several points along the stretch, there is still more than two kilometers of congestion on both sides.
 
Since last evening, we have been struck by the road closure. Prashant, a stranded commuter returning to Mandi town from Chandigarh, stated, "A large number of vehicles are stranded on both sides of the roads at Aut and 6 Miles."

Public Works Office Clergyman Vikramaditya Singh said upwards of 301 streets have been obstructed because of weighty downpours.

According to Singh's statement to reporters, 180 of these roads would be open by Monday evening, 15 by Tuesday, and the remaining roads by June 30 depending on the weather.

He added that up to 390 JCBs, dozers, and tippers have been deployed to clear the roads, and the department will provide a phone number by this evening so that people can report road-related issues.

In the state, there are approximately 30 road sections that frequently experience landslides. The PWD has lost approximately Rs 27 crore thus far during the ongoing monsoon season, which began on June 24.

Two people were killed on Sunday when a cloudburst caused flash floods in the Solan and Hamirpur districts and heavy rains in Shimla, Mandi, and Kullu. Crops, homes, and vehicles were also damaged, and livestock were washed away.

The State Emergency Operation Centre reports that one person drowned in the Shimla and Hamirpur districts, respectively. 11 houses, a number of vehicles, and four cowsheds were also damaged by the rain.

Several areas of the districts of Kangra, Mandi, and Sirmaur have also experienced moderate to heavy rains.

Dharamshala in Kangra got the most rain, 107 millimeters, followed by Kataula and Bhattiyat, which got 75 millimeters each, Gohar, 67 millimeters, Mandi, 56 millimeters, Pandoh, 50 millimeters, Poanta Sahib, 43 millimeters, Nagrota Suriyan, 39 millimeters, Kothi, 37 millimeters, Jogindern 2 mm.

On Monday and Tuesday, the local weather office issued an orange alert for isolated areas with heavy to very heavy rain, thunderstorms, and lightning, and on June 28 and 29, a yellow alert for heavy rain, thunderstorms, and lightning.

Earlier, the administration of Himachal Pradesh's Mandi has been facing trouble since flash floods occurred in the region. Flash floods happened in Khotinallah near Aut on the Pandoh–Kullu stretch due to a heavy downpour. Subsequently, hundreds of commuters were stranded near Aut in Mandi district. The Chandigarh-Manali highway was blocked following flash floods and landslides, officials said on Monday.

"There was a flash flood in Pandoh area that caused the 2-lane National Highway to be closed. The tourists and the local people were stuck in the traffic on the highway for 3 hours yesterday. The water was diverted and the road was cleared. There were landslides near Pandoh-Mandi due to the ongoing hill-cutting work that caused the roads to be blocked. The road clearance work had to be stopped last night due to persistent intermittent falling and shooting stones. The work was resumed this morning but it will take at least 4 hours to clear the road. Around 40 small cars, and a bus carrying 55 students have been stranded due to a cloudburst near Prashar. There is a heavy rain alert from the IMD for the next two days. The Mandi-Joginder Nagar highway has been cleared," said Mandi ASP Sagar Chander.

Officials of the Mandi administration said restoration work is underway and explosives are being used to blast heavy boulders blocking roads on the stretch.

National Highway-21, which connects Chandigarh with Manali, is expected to reopen for traffic in seven-eight hours, they said. The commuters have been advised not to move towards Mandi until the road is opened, they added.

“We have been struck since last evening as the road is closed leading to a traffic jam and a large number of vehicles are stranded on both sides of the roads at Aut and six mile," said Prashant, one of the stranded commuters who was returning to Mandi town from Chandigarh.

Moderate to heavy rains have also lashed several parts of Kangra, Mandi and Sirmaur districts.

Dharamshala in Kangra was the wettest with 106.6 mm of rain followed by Kataula 74.5 mm, Gohar 67 mm, Mandi 56.4 mm, Poanta Sahib 43 mm and Palampur 32.2 mm.

The local MeT office has issued an alert for heavy rain, thunderstorm and lightning at isolated places on June 27 and 28 and thunderstorms coupled with lightning from June 27-29.

Two killed as heavy rain lashes Himachal

Flash floods triggered by a cloudburst in Solan and Hamirpur districts and heavy rain in Shimla, Mandi and Kullu on Sunday killed two people, damaged crops, homes and vehicles, and washed away livestock.

According to the State Emergency Operation Centre on Sunday, one person drowned in Hamirpur and Shimla district each. The rain also damaged 11 houses and vehicles each as well as four cowsheds.

The state suffered estimated losses of Rs 78 lakh in the past 24 hours, it said.

Three houses were damaged in Lahaul and Spiti, five in Hamirpur, two in Solan and one in Mandi. Eight vehicles were damaged in Kullu, two in Lahaul and Spiti and one in Sirmaur.

Uprooted trees blocked traffic on 126 roads, including two national highways. Power supply was also disrupted as 141 transformers suffered damage, emergency centre officials said.

Following the cloudburst, water gushed into four homes and also damaged the panchayat building in the Kheri area of Sujanpur subdivision of Hamirpur district.

According to the latest information, six people are trapped by the waters of the Beas near the Khanuali village and machinery worth lakhs of the Dhaulasidh Power Project have been washed away due to heavy flow of water in the river. This area is located on the river's left bank.

(With PTI inputs)

Also read- Mumbai: 6 dead in rain-related incidents in 2-day amid Heavy downpour forecast

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