Thursday, August 3, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Decades of development washed away
From Rakesh Lohumi
Tribune News Service

SHIMLA, Aug 2 — The unprecedented flashfloods in the Sutlej river have pushed back the clock of development by decades.

Life has virtually come to a standstill in the affected areas of Kinnaur and Rampur sub-divisions, which bore the brunt of the river’s fury. The costly infrastructure created through years of painstaking effort, investing billions of crores of rupees was wiped out within a matter of few hours.

The maximum damage has been caused to roads, the life line of hill people, which will require a long time and much funds for restoration.

Such was the fury of river that it washed away all but three bridges from Khab in Kinnaur to Tattapani in Mandi district. In Kinnaur alone 14 bridges were washed away. Since most of them were located at strategic points where a number of roads converged, most areas of the district have been cut off. Even power supply and telecommunication services have been affected.

As per official figures death toll in the district has risen to 105. In Kinnaur alone 59 deaths have been confirmed. Besides 22 persons died in Kulu, two in Mandi, 10 in Shimla, 12 in the Nathpa-Jakhri project. Mr J.P. Singh, Deputy Commissioner, Kinnaur, said one body was suspected to be buried in the Adit tunnel of the Nathpa-Jhakri project at Nathpa. While two persons were rescued, the bodies of two others who were trapped inside the tunnel, were recovered.

He said the 350 workers of the Continental Foundation Joint Venture, who were stranded on the right bank of the river, had been rescued. Arrangements were being made for transhipment at places where bridges or stretches of roads had been washed away to facilitate movement of the people. The old Hindustan-Tibet road is being opened from the Kalpa side to facilitate movement of vehicular traffic within the district.

The state power board authorities have already made one generating unit of the Bhabha project functional which would help restore power supply in some areas.

Mr Singh said there was no loss of life in Karcham as feared earlier. Only some houses of office buildings were washed away.

The Rs 8000 crore Nathpa-Jhakri project has suffered extensive damage, estimated at Rs 700 crore which will delay the commissioning of project by another two years. According to the engineers of the project the water level starting rising suddenly at 2.30 a.m. on Tuesday and reached 1012 m from the sea level within half an hour and finally touched 1027 m which 12 m higher than the highest flood level. Consequently, the water back flowed from the river into the power house from the tail race tunnel, causing extensive damage to the six generating units which were at an advanced stage of installation.

The discharge at Nathpa, the dam site shot up from 550 cusecs to 6000 cusecs, a 10 fold increase which lasted for about three hours. Even now the level of water in the river was 15 to 20ft higher than normal.

A workers colony and construction machinery worth crores of rupees 



Centre sanctions Rs 100 cr relief
Tribune News Service

SHIMLA, Aug 2 — The Centre today sanctioned Rs 100 crore for carrying out relief and rehabilitation measures in the flood-hit areas of the state.

A communication to this effect was received by the state government this evening. As per preliminary estimates the total loss had been put at Rs 1000 crore. The state Cabinet had requested the Centre to give a special assistance of Rs 500 crore for the relief measures.

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