A man and a girl were swept away in Kangra and Kullu districts respectively, as heavy rains triggered flash floods in Himachal Pradesh on Monday, 24 September with officials issuing a "high alert" for Kullu, PTI reported.
Warnings have been also issued in the Chamba district.
The southwest monsoon remained aggressive on Sunday, 23 September in Himachal Pradesh with most of the areas experiencing heavy to extremely heavy rains, causing landslides in some areas and blocking the highways.
The water levels in the major rivers of the state – the Satluj, Beas and Yamuna – which enter the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana have also increased, a government official told IANS.
The highway that connects Manali with Leh in Jammu and Kashmir has been closed for traffic owing to heavy snow, officials said.
"The traffic between Manali and Leh has been closed since Saturday," an official of the 38 Task Force of the General Reserve Engineering Force (GREF) told IANS.
The Manali-Leh highway is crucial to the movement of supplies and wares of the armed forces to forward areas in Ladakh.
An official of the Himachal Road Transport Corporation said it would take a week to restart bus services between Manali via Keylong and Leh.
Punjab Issues Red Alert in Wake of Heavy Rain
Punjab government, on Monday, issued a 'red alert' in the wake of heavy rains in the state and has ordered district authorities to remain vigilant, an official said.
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has also called a meeting of senior officers on Monday to review the arrangements for dealing with flood-like situations, a spokesman of the Chief Minister's Office said.
"Red alert has been issued in view of incessant rain in the state", he said.
District administrations have been asked to maintain constant vigil in view of the rain, the spokesman said.
Punjab has been witnessing widespread rain for the last two days and the downpour continued on Monday, prompting state authorities to review preparations to tackle flood-like situations.
District control rooms have been activated for fast response and the Army has also been alerted, the spokesman said.
"The Army has been requested for standby," he said.
District authorities in catchment areas of rivers have been asked to make sufficient arrangements of boats for any rescue operation, the spokesman said.
Several Rescued After Flash Floods, IAF Chopper Deployed
Meanwhile, as many as 19 people, stranded at Dobi in Himachal’s Kullu district after flash floods and heavy rains, were rescued on Sunday by an Indian Air Force chopper, reported PTI.
He said the chopper was requisitioned on the direction of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and the stranded people were rescued safely.
"We are trying to evacuate and rehabilitate people. I request people not to go to high reach areas and near rivers." - Kullu Deputy Commissioner Yunus Khan told ANI
Meanwhile, it was informed in the meeting that all the 120 people stranded at Koksar have been rescued. Similarly, 23 people have been rescued from Mari and 23 from Rohtang, officials said.
Apart from this, 14 others were rescued by the Border Road Organisation from Kullu. Sixty sheep and goats perished due to landslide at Chamba, officials said.
The CM directed water levels in Chemera Dam I, II and III and Pandoh to be monitored strictly and concerned authorities to be provided early warnings, according to PTI.
Schools to Remain Closed on Monday Due to Heavy Rains
Schools in at least nine of 12 districts of Himachal Pradesh will remain closed on Monday after rains and snowfall lashed many parts of the state, reported PTI, quoting officials.
All government and private schools in Shimla, Sirmaur, Kangra, Kullu, Chamba, Mandi, Kinnaur, Solan and Hamirpur districts have been directed to remain closed as a precautionary measure, they said.
The deputy commissioners of the seven districts of Kangra, Kullu, Chamba, Mandi, Kinnaur, Solan and Hamirpur have ordered closure of all government and private educational institutions, including schools, colleges, ITIs and anganwari kendras on Monday, reported PTI.
Issuing orders of closure of all educational institutions in Himachal's largest district Kangra, DC Sandeep Kumar warned the general public and tourists to stay away from rivers and nullahs to avoid any untoward incident. In case of any emergency, the administration may be contacted at 1077 number, he added.
Similar warnings have been issued by other DCs, including Solan DC Vinod Kumar, Hamirpur DM Richa Verma, Sirmaur DC Lalit Jain, Kullu DC Yunus and Kinnaur DC Gopal Chand.
An official of the local Met office said there are chances of heavy rainfall at some parts of the state till Monday and thereafter the intensity of rains will start subsiding.
(With inputs from IANS, ANI and PTI)
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