Heavy snowfall, rains bring life to standstill in HP; road connectivity, power, water supply hit

Shimla, Jan 8 (PTI) Normal life was thrown out of gear in Himachal Pradesh as the state received heavy snowfall and showers on Wednesday, affecting road connectivity, electricity and water supply.

Hundreds of tourists were stranded in Shimla, Kufri, Narkanda, Manali and Dalhousie as officials said 879 roads in the state were blocked due to heavy snowfall.

The Shimla Police has rescued 43 tourists who were stranded at different places in the district and rushed 20 people to hospitals, Shimal SP Omapati Jamwal said.

Earlier in the day, authorities had advised people not to travel to popular tourist destinations Shimla and Manali owing to intermittent snowfall.

The high and middle hills of Himachal Pradesh witnessed heavy snowfall, while lower hills received showers throughout the day.

Power supply has been disrupted in the snow-bound areas and several villages have been rendered without electricity.

The heavy snowfall has resulted in freezing of residential water supply pipes in some areas of the state.

Forty roads were blocked in Nahan's Sangrah, Shillai, Sarahan and Rajgarh sub divisions.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur has directed deputy commissioners to ensure all essential services are restored in the areas affected due to snowfall at the earliest.

According to the Meteorological (MeT) Department, Shimla received 47.2 cm snowfall between 5.30 pm on Tuesday and 5.30 am on Wednesday.

Dalhousie in Chamba district and Kufri in Shimla district received 35 cm snowfall each, followed by Manali in Kullu district (27 cm), Kalpa in Kinnaur district (31.6 cm) and Lahaul-Spiti's administrative centre Keylong (8 cm), the department said.

Kharapather witnessed 60 cm snowfall, Khadrala (33 cm), Gondola (18.5 cm), Theog (12 cm), Jubbal (7.5 cm) and Pooh (5 cm) during the period.

As many as 425 machines have been pressed into service to clear snow from the roads in the state, an official from the Public Works Department said.

A joint team of assistant RTO and police issued challans to 14 taxis and collected fine of Rs 13,800 for over-charging tourists in Patlikuhal of Kullu district, Kullu SP Gaurav Singh said.

The weather office has forecast more snowfall and rains on January 9, 11 and 14. The MeT Department has issued an orange warning for extremely heavy rains in the state on January 12.

Maximum temperatures in Keylong, Kalpa and Kufri were recorded at minus 2.4, minus 2.1 and minus 1.7 degrees Celsius respectively, the weather office said, adding that Dalhousie, Shimla and Manali recorded maximum temperatures of 0, 1.4 and 1.8 degrees Celsius respectively. PTI CORR DJI SNE SNE