CHANDIGARH: More than 1,000 people including tourists and locals who are running camping sites have been stranded in the higher reaches of Manali and Keylong due to fresh spell of snow in Himachal Pradesh, while at least eight people were washed away due to heavy rains and flash floods in this hill state.
The tourists besides locals have been have stranded between Serchu and 16,500 feet high Bara La Cha pass between Zing Zing Bar and Deepak Tal on the Keylong Serchu-Leh highway and between Grampu and Batal on the Kaza-Grampu Manali road. About 100 tourists who came from Kaza in Spiti on Sunday were stranded at Grampu Batal and Chatru. More than 500 tourists including foreigners, have abandoned their vehicles on the highway due to snow and have taken shelter in camps and tents at Zing Zing Bar and Serchu. Also more than 300 tourists from West Bengal and other states were stranded in Keylong Sissu and Udaipur.
Sources said five faculty members of the IIT-Mandi went missing in the Chandratal in Lahaul-Spiti. They had gone there for trekking.
There is no power supply in the entire Lahaul Valley as electricity lines have been snapped due to heavy snow. At a few places there is three feet of snow. Due to this weather the apple, pea and potato crops in Lahaul have been badly damaged due to untimely spell of snow. These are to be harvesting in last week of September.
Meanwhile Rohtang Pass and Rohtang Tunnel, south and north portal, recorded over one feet of snow bringing all work to standstill. After three consecutive days of incessant rains, over 200 roads in the state interiors remained closed to traffic, stranding travellers and commuters. Road links to Kinnaur district and towns in Shimla district such as Narkanda, Jubbal, Kharapathar, Rohru and Chopal have been cut-off owing to landslips. Three bridges were washed away in Kullu and Manali towns.
Punjab issues red alert, Army on standby
As incessant rain continues, the neighbouring Punjab Government has also issued a red alert in the state, asking all district authorities to remain on constant vigil. The Army has also been requested to be on standby. Punjab has also ordered closure of all schools and colleges.