By: ML Verma
Shimla: Widespread heavy spell of snow and rain continues in Himachal Pradesh, forcing people to remain inside their houses, while thousands others are still stranded at their respective sites as many national, state highways and link roads are closed to vehicular traffic due to accumulation of thick layers of snow at various points.
The Pangi valley of Chamba district has been the worst hit by the very heavy area with snowfall continuing since February 6. Resident commissioner of Pangi Gopal Chand told himvani.com over phone that snowbound roads having as much as as six feet of snow, power failure and partials dislodged telephone communications is creating problem to people. He said that administration is trying hard to open link roads in the tribal town by pressing snow-movers vehicles and machinery into action but continuous heavy snow is wasting their effort.
Reports reaching from Keylong, headquater of Lahaul-Spiti said that a high-velocity snow storm hit the entire Lahaul-Spiti district last night with strong speed of 40 to 50 Kms per hours, resulting in 57 inch (4.6 ft.) of snow at Udyapur ,42 inch(3.6ft.) at Kelong and 24 inch (2ft.) at Kaza. People have been cautioned to remain inside their houses as avalanches are reeling down from higher areas. Deputy commissioner Rhitesh Chauhan said in a statement issue to alert the snowbound people that heavy snowfall in the high ranges may cause avalanches in the area. The treasury and police station offices at Udaipur tehsil headquarters, which were on avalanches point, have been shifted to safer places. He said that 30 to 35 people have been shifted to nearest rest house due to danger of avalanches. Chauhan also declared that all education institution would remain closed on February 9, 10 and 11, however, government offices are still open.
The Hindustan-Tibet(National Highway-22) road from Chandigarh to Koric (last point up to Indo-Sino border) is blocked at many places, beyond Shimla at Kufri, Narkanda, Chora at the gateway of Kinnaur and Recong-Peo. The highway had become unoperational for traffic yesterday and vehicular traffic to Rampur was diverted via Basantpur. In Kinnuar district, Chitkul (last bordering village) registered 60 inch (5ft)snow and Kalpa town recieved 42 inch. The downstream areas of Kinnuar district reported significant snowfall after a gap of more than thirty years.
In Kangra district, Maclodganj received first snowfall of the seasons whereas Dauladhar ranges experienced many spell of snowfall. White blanket of snow covered much of the apple belt in Shimla district. Shimla and its nearby places were also not remained unaffected from hailstorms. The tourist resort of Kufri experienced 12 inch(1ft) of snow, Narkanda-24 inch(2ft) and Kharapathar 30 inch(2.6ft), Khari in Chopal 12 inch(1ft).
The popular tourist resort town of Manali received flakes of snow and intermittent rain whereas high mountains ranges recorded about 30 cm snowfall, bringing cheer to tourists who have thronged the town for the five-day winter carnival games, which began over the weekend.
Director of the Indian Meteorological Department, Shimla, Manmohan Singh warned that moderate to heavy snowfall is likely in the tribal belts of Chamba, Kullu, Mandi, Kinnaur & Lahaul & Spiti districts during the next 24 hrs.