Nearly 200 road links in Himachal reopened after snowfall; tourists rescued
Shimla, Jan 23 : Nearly 200 road links in Himachal Pradesh were reopened on Wednesday a day after widespread snow and rain blocked highways and link roads.
Snow hit vehicular movement beyond Shimla town while traffic on the Pathankot-Chamba highway was badly hit. The entire Kinnaur district is cut off. However, there was no loss of life.
Road links to Kinnaur district and towns in Shimla district such as Narkanda, Jubbal, Kharapathar, Rohru and Chopal remained suspended for a second day, a government official told IANS.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Wednesday reviewed the losses, restoration and rescue operations.
As per the government, a total 690 roads were closed after Tuesday's snowfall. Of these, 200 roads were cleared on Wednesday and the remaining would be reopened after Thursday.
The Public Works Department estimates a initial loss of Rs 51.92 crore to the roads.
While the picturesque tourist town Manali recorded 30 cm of snowfall, it was 39.6 cm in Kalpa and 60 cm in Dalhousie. Dharamsala had 52 mm of rainfall, the state's highest.
"There is no movement of traffic towards Kinnaur district on the national highway five beyond Tapri. Work is on to restore electricity in Kinnaur. The Pangi valley in Chamba district is also cut off from the rest of the state," an official said.
The Queen of the Hills, as Shimla was called by the British, recorded the highest snowfall on a single day in January in the past 15 years.
Manmohan Singh, Director of the meteorological office here, told IANS the town recorded 44.5 cm of snowfall on Tuesday, the highest in the first month of the year since 2004.
Keylong town in Lahaul-Spiti district saw over three feet of snowfall.
Officials said bad weather has affected the road network in the higher reaches of Kinnaur, Shimla, Chamba, Kullu and Sirmaur districts and efforts were being made to reopen the roads.
There are chances of moderate snow in the state till Friday, an India Meteorological Department (IMD) official told IANS.
The government has advised people not to venture to the high hills of Kullu, Shimla and Kinnaur districts owing to threats of avalanches.