Shimla: Five persons were killed because of the heavy snowfall across many higher reaches of Himachal and several others had miraculous escapes as the state continued to be in the grip of a severe cold wave.
Amar Chand, 16, and Robin Singh, 13, died in two seperate avalanches, triggered by heavy snow, near Sishu village in the tribal district of Lahaul and Spiti. Another woman, since yesterday, is reported missing in Pandar village, from the remote Dodra Kawar area of Shimla district.
Government officials said two persons succumbed to intense cold conditions, one in Chamba town and one in a village within Chamba district.
Death toll because of the intense cold wave sweeping the hills and inclement weather accidents has gone up to 16. Communication links with many parts of the state remain cut off.
Lower and mid hills were lashed by heavy rains.
Many parts have received recode snowfalls with many higher reaches of Chamba recording over 600 centimeters of snow in the last 10 days.
At an ITPB post in Guler di Mandi, the accumulated snow was recorded at 652 cm, followed by 480 cm in Langera and 270 cm each in Chahul and Mangali posts.
Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) posts at Bhanodi, Mesa, Alwas and Suela in the district had so far recorded about 650, 470, 375 and 310 cm of snow respectively in the last few days, affecting power, water supply and telecommunication system in the region.
Vehicular traffic has been suspended on Chamba-Pathankot, Chamba-Tissa, Chamba-Bahrmaur and Chamba-Saloni roads because of incessant snowfall.
Dalhousie, the famous tourist resort was under 180 cm of snow, while Bharmaur and Banikhet had accumulated 150 cm of snow during the last few days. Salooni and Churah have been without power supply for several days now.
District administration of Chamba had ordered closure of all schools for three days on Wednesday.
Today the Chamba administration ordered shifting of the pulse polio date from Sunday to February 24 due because of the prevailing bad weather conditions.
The remote areas of Bharmuar and Pangi in Chamba district, Dodra Kawar in Shimla district and several areas in Kinnuar and Lahaul Spiti district remain cut off from rest of the state.
Thirty-nine people stranded at various places in Bharmaur, Lahaul Spiti and along the Jammu and Kashmir border could not be evacuated.
Residents of tribal areas have been advised not to venture out as a threat from avalanches loomed large over the entire mountainous region.
Tourist resorts of Dharamshala, Shimla, Kufri and Narkanda continued to experience heavy snowfall for the fourth day today
Vehicular traffic to Rohroo, Narkanda, Theog, Rampur and beyond remains suspended.
Traffic was also affected in the state capital due to overnight and early snowfall and state government employees had to walk long distances to reach offices.
However tourists thronged many areas and did enjoy the picturesque beauty seen after a fresh round of snow.
Shimla town had recorded about 27 cm of snowfall, Kufri 80 cm and Narakanda 120 cm of snow.
Shimla recorded a minimum temperature of â€“ 0.6 degree Celsius, Sundernagar 5.1, Bhuntar 5.6, Dharamshala 0.6t and at Una it was 3.8 degrees Celsius.
The weatherman has forecast that the wet conditions were likely to continue up till tomorrow morning after which the western disturbance was expected to weaken. Night temperatures across the state were expected to fall by two to four degrees over the next two days.