Couple found dead, educational institutions shut

Shimla: Heavy overnight rains triggered landslides in Himachal Pradesh, claiming two lives and blocking over 200 more roads besides damaging some houses, officials said on Wednesday.

A migrant identified as Jhalo and his wife Rajkumari were found dead in their makeshift house in Baldeyan area of Shimla district, Superintendent of Police, Shimla, Sanjeev Kumar Gandhi told PTI.

The police officer also appealed to residents to avoid unnecessary travel.

With the two deaths, the toll in rain-related incidents in Shimla district in the past 10 days has increased to 26 which include 17 deaths in Summer Hill landslide, five in Fagli and two in Krishna Nagar.

The landslides also left some houses damaged in Solan district.

Deputy Commissioner, Solan, Manmohan Sharma told PTI that some houses have been damaged in Shakal village on the outskirts of Solan city as gushing waters entered houses.

There are also reports of damage to few houses and vehicles in Sabathu area following the landslide.

Shimla town is the most hit with landslides and uprooted trees blocking the main cart road (circular road), the lifeline of the town as well as the Shimla-Mehli bypass at several points.

With 200 more roads blocked, a total of 530 roads in the state are now shut. It includes National Highway NH 21 (Mandi-Kullu road) and NH 154 (Mandi-Pathankot), according to the data of the State Emergency Operation Centre.

The Shimla-Kalka National Highway 5 connecting Shimla and Chandigarh, which was again blocked near Chaki Mor, has been opened for light vehicles.

Cracks have also developed in some houses in Shimla city.

As a safety measure, houses were vacated in Panthaghati and Sanjauli areas of Shimla city and landslides and uprooting of trees have been reported in some parts of the city, Deputy Commissioner, Shimla, Aditya Negi said.

A parked bus near the ISBT in Shimla was buried following a landslide while several other vehicles were damaged in slides near Navbahar, Himland and other places.

Many Shimla residents had a sleepless night as the city witnessed thunderstorm and lightning till 3 am.

Commuters also had a hard time as buses were not plying due to risk of slides and falling of trees  “I have walked for nearly six km to reach my office as buses were not plying. We were scared all night as loss of life in recent landslides have triggered fear,” said local resident Jagat Ram.

Heavy rains lashed several parts of the state overnight, with Bilaspur receiving 181 mm of rains followed by Berthin 160 mm, Shimla 132 mm, Mandi 118 mm, Sundernagar 105 mm, Palampur 91 mm, Solan 77 mm. Heavy rains are still continuing in several districts.

The meteorological office here had issued a red alert predicting heavy to very heavy rainfall with isolated spells of “extremely heavy” rains in eight districts on Tuesday night.

The warning was issued for parts of Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Kullu, Mandi, Shimla, Solan, Sirmaur and Una districts following which all schools and colleges have been closed for two days beginning Wednesday in Shimla, Mandi and Solan districts.

The MeT also cautioned of moderate to high flash flood risk in Shimla, Sirmaur, Kangra, Chamba, Mandi, Hamirpur, Solan, Bilaspur and Kullu districts.

The weather office also issued an orange alert warning of “heavy to very heavy rains” on Wednesday and Thursday, and a yellow warning of heavy rain on August 25 and 26. It has predicted a wet spell in the state till August 28.

The seasonal rainfall was 752.1 mm against a normal rainfall of 550.4 mm, an excess of 36 per cent from June 24 till August 22.

Himachal saw three major spells of heavy rains this season that left a trail of destruction. The first spell was witnessed on July 9 and 10 and major destruction was caused in Mandi and Kullu districts.

Shimla and Solan districts were hit during the second spell on August 14 and 15 and Shimla city has suffered heavy damaged in the third spell on Tuesday night.

About 80 people have died in rain-related incidents in the state this month while a total of 227 people have died while 38 are still missing since the onset of monsoon in Himachal Pradesh on June 24.

Over 12,000 houses have been completely or partially damaged, according to the state emergency operation centre.

Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu has claimed that the state has suffered losses of Rs 10,000 crore in the heavy rains.

Leader of the Opposition Jai Ram Thakur has asked the people of the state to stay safe.

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