Extreme cold spell continues in Himachal

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Shimla
: All the hill stations in Himachal Pradesh are reeling under the season’s coldest spell for the last couple of days with little respite ahead .

The mercury dipped to minus 2 in the state capital Shimla Thursday four notches below normal while the maximum temperature barely crept up to 4.7 C as icy winds and stray snow flakes buffeted the town.

Snow laden countryside by Mohit Makhaik

The twin tribal districts of Kinnaur and Lahaul & Spiti experienced yet another bone chilling day . In Kalpa the mercury dropped to minus 7 C while in Keylong it fell to minus 12 Thursday .

Life continues to be paralysed in the snow bound Shimla district which has experienced the heaviest snowfall in the last twenty years .

Majority of these areas have not recovered from the latest snowfall last week . Almost all the roads continue to be blocked and most areas are still without electricity .

Many of the areas in Rohru , Jubbal , Kotkhai , Chopal , Theog and Narkanda are under several feet of snow as people struggle from day to day with little support from the government .

The state chief minister P.K.Dhumal has instead moved out of Shimla and chosen to tour the pleasant lower areas of the state for the next fortnight .

The state run electricity board has completely failed to restore electricity for close to a week in these areas .

Locals say most of the field staff in the snow bound areas is absconding from work and the top HPSEB bosses in Shimla have not bothered to goad these staffers to restore the snapped power cables .

There is almost no contact with these areas as mobile phone batteries have run out of charge .

Added to this is the shortage of cooking gas as the LPG cylinder stocks have long run out in the area .

Most of the water pipes are frozen in the region and once again the field IPH staff is absconding and choosing to remain at home .

In a 20 year career published widely. He has worked for the BBC, AFP, The Statesman, IANS and the Business Standard . Known for his hard hitting writing and occasional off-beat stories. He lives in Shimla.