Heavy rains batter Himachal, blocks highways

Shimla, Aug 1 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh continued to experience moderate to heavy rainfall on Monday, causing landslides and blocking two major national highways, while all the rivers were in spate, officials said.

The National Highway-21 linking Chandigarh with Manali, which was closed for over six hours near Hanogi temple in Mandi district due to landslides, was reopened partially on Monday.

Likewise, the National Highway-5, which was closed near Rampur town, some 120 km the state capital, was restored after three hours of closure.

Vehicles travelling to Manali were diverted towards the Mandi-Kotala-Bajjura road, revenue official Hira Chand, who was supervising the road clearing operation, told IANS over phone.

He said two people were injured when debris fell on their truck near the Hanogi temple near Aut.

Another highway linking Nahan with the state capital Shimla was closed near Banethi since Sunday night due to landslides. The traffic bound for Shimla was diverted via Chandigarh.

There were reports of link road closure in the interiors of Shimla, Sirmaur, Mandi and Kullu districts, hampering movement of traffic.

A government spokesperson said the Satluj, Beas and Yamuna rivers and their tributaries have been in spate in Kinnaur, Shimla, Kullu, Mandi, Bilaspur and Sirmaur districts.

According to the Met Office here, heavy to very heavy rainfall is likely at some places in the state till Tuesday. Thereafter, the intensity of the rain will be lessened for the next two-three days.

Shimla and Kasauli towns district received 76 mm and 89 mm rain, respectively.

The state capital saw a low of 15.9 degrees Celsius, while it was 16.2 degrees in Dharamsala and 14 degrees in Kalpa.

Meteorological office director Manmohan Singh told IANS that there were reports of poor visibility due to fog or low clouds at many places in the state.

–IANS

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