Kullu: Torrential rain over the past three days in Kullu – Manali valley has a swollen Beas river and feeding streams tear down roads, bridges, electricity lines, houses and washed away buses and trucks that came along the flow path.
Unconfirmed reports claimed that at least 5 people had been swept away by the river torrent but district police chief Shalini Agnihotri confirmed that 3 people had died.
The destruction caused by the overflowing Beas river has had the people recall the year 1995 when a devastating flood had left the entire district traumatised.
The district administration has issued an warning to the people to not go near the river, or the fast flowing stream and remain safe and alert. All educational institutions have been ordered to be remained closed till 25th September.
District magistrate Yunus has issued an advisory to the to avoid risking their lives by attempting to collect floating wood from rivers. “Strict action would be taken against offenders,” he said.
Forest minister Govind Singh Thakur today visited flood affected areas between Manali and Bajaura. He assured the people all possible help would be rendered. Indian Air Force rescuers have evacuated 21 people by helicopter who had been left stranded by the flash flood. Those airlifted included 19 people from Dobhi Vihal on Sunday and 2 from Bajaura on Monday morning.
There are reports of 6 trucks and 4 small vehicles having been washed away by the gushing river from Bashing area, near Kullu. A truck from Kullu and a Volvo bus from Manali was swept away yesterday. Large stretches of roads, on both sides of the river banks, has been washed away that has disrupted traffic flow.
Kishori Lal Yadav, a regional manager with state public transport services HRTC when contacted by Hill Post said, “up valley bus services from Mandi have been stopped because of the weather and bad road conditions on the roads of Kullu-Manali valley.”
An early winter has set in at the high passes as Rohtang Pass (3978 meters altitude) received more than 4 feet of snow by Monday morning. The administration has put a stop to all adventure tourism activities in the valley.
With the highway to Lahaul-Spiti cut off, the government faces a challenge in transporting fuel wood and rations into the landlocked region for meeting deep winter requirements.