Dharamshala: The monsoon has hit Kangra valley with full gusto. The first monsoon showers started late on Sunday night, and by morning all streams and rivulets were gushing with heavy flows. At places, some of the streams burst their banks or changed course to wreck devastation in whatever lay on the path.
Several vehicles have been washed away in the tourist spot of Bhagsu Nag in Upper Dharamsala adjoining Mecleodganj. Around eight in the morning, a stream above Bhagsu Nag temple changed course and water started flowing towards the parking lot on the temple road. Four cars and several bikes were washed away. The Government School building in Bhagsunag has been damaged and lower floors of hotels in the vicinity have been inundated.
The bridge over Gaj Khad in Rajol on Mandi Pathankot Highway has been damaged. Police deployed at the bridge stopped the movement of vehicles for some time that caused a big jam on both sides of the highway.
All the rivulets of the district around Shahpur, Palampur and Dharamsala are in spate since last night. A flash flood in Manjhi Khad has washed away a 3 storied building in Chaitru. Another building near Shila Chowk has also been washed away in the ravine, and about a dozen other buildings are reported to be damaged.
Dr Nipun Jindal, the new district magistrate of Kangra has asked the people to avoid going near streams and rivers during the monsoon. “Instructions have also been given to not to go to sensitive places prone to landslides. Some people have also been shifted to safer places due to flood conditions in some areas of the district,” said Jindal.
The district administration has set up control rooms to carry out relief and rehabilitation that would remain open round the clock during the monsoon season.
“In case of disaster, one can contact the district headquarters control room on toll free number 1077 or 01892 229050 ,” said the magistrate. He said that suitable steps have also been taken to make the weather forecast information available to the people regularly so that the general public remains alert about the weather in advance.T
The Meteorological Department has forecast heavy rain for 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th July. The administration has evoked the Disaster Management Act 2005 and asked district officers of all the departments to remain alert.
On Monday all incoming flights to Gagal Airport were canceled. Airport’s traffic in-charge Gaurav Kumar said that due to heavy rains and bad weather, all flights have been cancelled. “Neither Air India nor SpiceJet are flying to Dharamsala today,” he said.