Over 500 people were reportedly stranded in Lahaul and Spiti district.
Shimla: About 50 IIT-students on a trek in Himachal Pradesh’s Lahaul valley were rescued by Indian Air Force helicopters while over 500 people remain stranded in other areas in Lahaul and Spiti district, officials said Tuesday.
The death toll in the state, battered by heavy rains — and snowfall in Lahaul and Spiti — has risen to 10 with four more deaths being reported on Tuesday. Chief minister Jai Ram Thakur said the state had suffered losses totalling Rs 1,200 crore after three days of rains, beginning Saturday.
A team of six trekkers from New Delhi and Himachal Pradesh is missing in Kinnaur district, officials said. The incessant rains had triggered flash floods and landslides in the hill states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pra-desh and Haryana, killing at least 11 people on Monday. There were rains also in Punjab and Utta-rakhand.
No fresh casualties were reported in the other states on Tuesday. But in Himachal Pradesh’s Shi-mla district, two labourers died when a rock fell on their home. Also, two people were killed when a car skidded off a slippery road in the state’s Kinn-aur district.
There were only scattered showers in the state on Tuesday and the Met department predicted that the weather will hold on Wednesday as well. But several roads, including portions of the Chandi-garh-Manali route, remai-ned blocked due to landslides and snowfall.
Apart from the rescue of the entire group of trekkers from the Indian Institute of Technology-Roorkee, the IAF also rescued a German couple trapped in a blizzard while trekking from Rin-gdum to Dibling near Lahaul-Spiti.
The IAF has sent three helicopters to Himachal Pradesh, and the Centre has assured more choppers if needed, the CM said. They are being deployed to rescue over 500 people still stranded in Lahaul-Spiti. About 300 of them were trapped in Baralacha area and the remaining 200 in Koksar, an official said.
There are reports of others caught between landslides on the roads. Schools were closed for the second consecutive day on Tuesday in Kangra, Kullu. — PTI and Hamirpur districts, officials said.
The plan to release excess water from the Pong dam on Beas river in Kangra district was deferred till Wednesday morning, providing relief to the residents of low-lying areas in the state and neighbouring Punjab.
However, excess water from the Pandoh dam in Mandi district was released at 11 am on Tuesday, a Central Water Commission official said.
The plan to release water from the Pong dam was put off because of reduced inflow and the forecast of subdued rain in the catchment area, a Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) official said.
The Lahaul-Spiti district witnessed about four feet of snowfall up to Monday. As a result Rohtang Pass and several inner roads were blocked.
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has cleared a 6-km stretch of Keylong-Stingri road and work is on to clear other roads of debris from landslides.
Apart of truckers and tourists, several personnel of General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) were also reportedly stranded at various places, an official said.