Bhanu P Lohumi
Tribune News Service
Shimla, July 28
Two Kinner Kailash pilgrims, including a woman from Pune, were washed away in flash floods at the Kangrang Nullah near Tangling village in Kinnaur district on Saturday. With the number of deaths reaching four — two in Kinner Kailash and two in Shrikhand — the administration has suspended both yatras.
Heavy rain triggered landslides, blocking roads and disrupting power supply.
“A 43-year old woman from Pune, identified as Sangeeta Morya, was washed away in the waters of the swollen Kangrang Nullah, while another pilgrim from Shimla Kuldeep Thakur (32) was swept away in the gushing waters near the cave upstream while they were returning after paying obeisance to Kinner Kailash,” officiating Deputy Commissioner Avminder Sharma said.
A massive search operation has been launched by teams of the police and Home Guards to trace the bodies, he said, adding that the district administration had rescued 256 persons stranded en route Kinner Kailash.
The Sutlej, its tributaries and rivulets are in spate and the water level is rising. Shimla Deputy Commissioner Amit Kashyap has sounded an alert and advised locals and tourists not to go near the riverbanks or swollen rivulets as rain and release of water from reservoirs of hydropower projects can cause flash floods.
Following floods in the Shalvi river, residents of 24 villages, including Nerwa, Tikri, Gumma, Shwala, Bawi, Dakauli, Kyarla, Banipul, Shamtha, Gumma and Kuthat, have been asked not to go near the riverbanks and also not let animals and children go there.
The rain has crippled normal life in several parts of the state. As many as 310 roads were closed due to landslides, with 221 blocked in Shimla zone, 71 in Mandi and 13 in Hamirpur.
The Public Works Department (PWD) has pressed into service men and machinery and assured the public that 266 roads would be opened by this evening. The rain has caused a loss of Rs 237 crore to the PWD.
A house in the Uppar Chakkar area near Bagum Lodge suffered partial damage due to a landslide. Those residing there said last year too, the same thing had happened, but no concrete efforts were made by the district administration and as a result this year too, their lives were in danger. However, no loss of life was reported as the occupants had left the floor last year. The vehicular movement was disrupted in Shimla on the Navbahar-Jakhoo road as trees were uprooted following heavy rain, while a wall near Hotel Holiday Home also caved in.
Gohar, which received 162 mm of rain in the past 24 hours, was the wettest, followed by Nahan 110 mm, Dharampur and Renuka 105 mm each, Gaggal 98 mm, Jogindernagar 95 mm, Rajgarh 93 mm, Solan 76 mm, Rampur 63 mm, Pandoh 60 mm, Kasauli, Kumarsen and Dharamsala 55 mm each, Kufri 50 mm, Sundernagar 45 mm, Jubberhatti 44 mm, Paonta Sahib 41 mm and Shimla 40 mm. The Met office has predicted wet spell in the state till August 3.
P’kula resident among two dead
Kullu: Two more pilgrims died while undertaking the 18,570 feet Shrikhand Mahadev yatra on Friday. Anni SDM Chet Singh said the yatra had been suspended from Saturday due to heavy rain and no person was registered or sent to the pilgrimage. He said medical rescue camps would be removed after July 31. The SDM said Harish Kumar (32) from Panchkula died at Parbati Bagh and Satrohan Lal from Lucknow died near Bheemdwari. Extreme cold and lack of oxygen at the high altitude were probably the cause of the two deaths. He said the bodies of the pilgrims would arrive in the afternoon on Sunday after which a post-mortem examination would be conducted. Four deaths occurred this year during the yatra. The SDM said rivulets in the trekking route were in spate due to heavy rain and rescue teams were assisting the pilgrims to come back from Parbati Bagh to Bheemdwari. He further said all pilgrims would be brought back before July 31. — OC
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