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65 feared dead in HP cloudburst
Ghanvi staff among victims
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 14
Over 65 persons were feared to have been washed away in flashfloods caused by a cloudburst in Ghanvi village, about 175 km from here, this evening. So far four bodies have been recovered.

According to initial reports reaching here, 14 houses were swept away and 13 partially damaged by the gushing water and debris, which came down from Dharla village located uphill. There were a large number of labourers working at the Ghanvi Project (Stage-I) who lived in hutments.

A primary health centre building and a residence of a doctor were also washed away. Some employees and students, who lived in rented accommodations, were also feared to have been killed. Exact details were not available as the village had been cut off with flood waters washing away roads.

Deputy Commissioner Tarun Kapoor said there were around 100 persons, mostly labourers, who lived in temporary hutments and around 15 houses of villagers. All approaches to the area had been blocked due to landslides and exact information would be available only in the morning.

The local subdivisional magistrate was camping at Juri and rescue teams had been sent to the village.

The Ghanvi power plant was shut down as the level of silt rose to 15,000 ppm due to flashfloods. The 300-MW Baspa Project was also closed due to high silt level.

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Rain loss over Rs 1,000 crore
Major highways restored
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 14
The death toll due to cloudbursts, flash floods and heavy rain reached 36 while the total loss to public and private property amounted to over Rs 1000 crore even as the hill state limped back to normalcy with the opening of major highways. The government has urged the Centre to immediately send a team to take stock of the situation and have an on-spot assessment of loss.

The weather god relented after two days of fury and there were no reports of a downpour though many areas recorded a light-to-moderate rainfall. However, power generation in the 1500 MW Nathpa Jhakri Project remained suspended for the fourth consecutive day due to a high level of silt in the Sutlej which hovered around 9,000 ppm (parts per million)

The government swung into action and released Rs 40 crore for carrying out immediate relief and rehabilitation measures in the affected areas. Control rooms have been set up in the DC offices in all districts which will functions round the clock. The deputy commissioners have been directed not to go on leave and ensure that relief measures were carried out promptly. Teams have been formed under the SDMs which will visit the affected areas and provide immediate relief to the affected people.

Revenue minister Sat Mahajan said the government would not tolerate any laxity in relief measures and any lapse on the part of officers would be viewed seriously. The government would not hesitate to suspend the erring officers.

The maximum number of nine persons have been killed in Kangra, followed by Mandi (8), Solan and Shimla (four each), Bilaspur and Kinnaur( three each), Hamirpur (two) and Una, Sirmour and Lahaul Spiti (one each). While 293 houses of have collapsed, 295 have been partially damaged. Over 100 cattle have perished.

While the Shimla-Kalka highway, Hindustan-Tibet Road and Shimla-Mandi roads have been opened to traffic, most of the interior roads in upper Shimla and parts of Mandi, Bilaspur and Solan districts were still blocked. There was no likelihood of resumption of rail services on the Shimla-Kalka section as the restoration of the rail track washed away in a cloudburst could take more than a month.

The movement of vehicles was resumed on the Hindustan-Tibet road this afternoon after more than 40 hours of blockade caused by a huge landslide near Matiana. However, the roads leading to interior villages in Chopal , Rohru, Niramnd, Kumarsein and Karsog remained blocked. The maximum damage has been caused to roads, with the PWD putting the loss at Rs 353 crore. The loss on account of damage to agricultural crops and washing away of vast stretches of cultivable land has been estimated to be over Rs 225 crore. A number of water supply and irrigation schemes hade been damaged and the loss so far amounted to Rs 36.84 crore.

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