Eight Killed, Schools Closed as Heavy Rains Cause Havoc in Himachal, Punjab

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Eight people were killed and hundreds, including school students, remained stranded across Himachal Pradesh on Monday after incessant rainfall for the third consecutive day triggered landslides and snapped over 200 road links, officials said, adding that a ‘high alert’ had been issued for Kullu.
Three people were washed away near Manali late on Sunday night when their vehicle fell into the swollen Beas River. Two were washed away in the Parbati River in the Manikaran Valley, while one girl died near Bajaura. Both incidents occurred in Kullu, one of the worst-affected by flash floods.
A man drowned in a swollen rivulet near Palampur town in Kangra district, while another was killed when a building was washed away in a rivulet in Una district.
Several houses were swept away in flash floods as the Beas is flowing at a dangerous level, he said, cautioning people against going near rivers and nullahs for collecting wood, gravel etc.
Meanwhile, schools in most districts of the state were closed as a precautionary measure due to continuing moderate to heavy rains. People residing in low-lying areas, especially in Kangra, Chamba, Kullu and Mandi districts, are being evacuated, officials said. They are also being asked to remain alert due to rising water levels in rivers and streams.
In Chamba, the Ravi River is still flowing at a dangerous level and people are being evacuated from low-lying areas by the administration since Sunday, SP Monica Bhutunguru said.
Issuing a flood warning, the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) said excess water from the Pong Dam would be released due to high-pattern inflows in the Pong reservoir due to heavy rain in catchment areas.
Widespread rain and snowfall in higher altitudes brought down the mercury. Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti district shivered below the freezing point, according to the Meteorological Centre.
Heavy landslides hit vehicular movement on the Chandigarh-Manali highway beyond Mandi town and on the Pathankot-Chamba highway. However, there was no loss of life. After three consecutive days of incessant rains, most of the 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, a government official said. Three bridges were washed away in Kullu and Manali towns. An Indian Air Force chopper rescued 19 people on Sunday as they were stuck in a flash flood in Dobi in Kullu district.