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Six Killed, Schools Closed as Heavy Rains Cause Havoc in Himachal, Punjab

Issuing a flood warning, the Bhakra Beas Management Board said excess water from the Pong Dam would be released due to high-pattern inflows in the Pong reservoir due to heavy rain in catchment areas.

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Updated:September 24, 2018, 9:04 PM IST
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Six Killed, Schools Closed as Heavy Rains Cause Havoc in Himachal, Punjab
A swollen Beas River flows after heavy rains in Kullu district on Monday. (PTI)
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Six people were killed and hundreds, including school students, remained stranded across Himachal Pradesh on Monday after incessant rainfall for the third consecutive day triggered landslides and snapped over 200 road links, officials said, adding that a 'high alert' had been issued for Kullu.

Kullu superintendent of police said five people were killed in Kullu district, while one death was reported in Kangra, adding that more casualties were expected. The Manali region has suffered an estimated loss of over Rs 20 crore.

Several houses were swept away in flash floods as the Beas is flowing at a dangerous level, an official said, cautioning people against going near rivers and nullahs for collecting wood, gravel etc.

Meanwhile, schools in most districts of the state were closed as a precautionary measure due to continuing moderate to heavy rains. People residing in low-lying areas, especially in Kangra, Chamba, Kullu and Mandi districts, are being evacuated, officials said. They are also being asked to remain alert due to rising water levels in rivers and streams.

In Chamba, the Ravi River is still flowing at a dangerous level and people are being evacuated from low-lying areas by the administration since Sunday, SP Monica Bhutunguru said.

Issuing a flood warning, the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) said excess water from the Pong Dam would be released due to high-pattern inflows in the Pong reservoir due to heavy rain in catchment areas.

Widespread rain and snowfall in higher altitudes brought down the mercury. Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti district shivered below the freezing point, according to the Meteorological Centre.

Keylong Snowfall
Fresh snowfall in Keylong in Himachal Pradesh's Lahaul-Spiti district. (Twitter/ANI)

Heavy landslides hit vehicular movement on the Chandigarh-Manali highway beyond Mandi town and on the Pathankot-Chamba highway. However, there was no loss of life. After three consecutive days of incessant rains, most of the roads in the state interiors remained closed to traffic, stranding travellers and commuters.

Road links to Kinnaur district and towns in Shimla district such as Narkanda, Jubbal, Kharapathar, Rohru and Chopal have been cut off owing to landslips, a government official said. Three bridges were washed away in Kullu and Manali towns. An Indian Air Force chopper rescued 19 people on Sunday as they were stuck in a flash flood in Dobi in Kullu district.

Anurag Thakur, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Hamirpur, sought the Centre's assistance to compensate the losses due to heavy rains in Himachal Pradesh. Thakur, who is also BJP's chief whip in the Lok Sabha, asked the central government to support the rain-battered state through the disaster relief fund.

Punjab

The Punjab government, too, has issued a ‘red alert’ in the wake of heavy rains in the state. Chief minister Amarinder Singh called a meeting to prepare for a flood-like situation. Schools and colleges will remain closed on Tuesday in view of the situation.
Weather: Monsoon rainfall in Amritsar
A road caves in after continuous rains in Amritsar on Sunday. (PTI)

Singh also directed the food and civil supplies and animal husbandry ministers to appoint nodal officers for distribution of food packets to the affected people and dry fodder for the animals in view of the situation.

The flood gates of the Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh were opened on Monday as the water crossed the danger mark of 1163 feet. The continuous rainfall in the area had risen the water level to 1161 feet last week, which touched 1162 feet on Saturday and crossed the danger mark on Sunday.

The flood gates of the lake were last opened in 2008 when a similar situation arose. An official of the engineering department said the senior officials and the Punjab and Haryana governments had been informed of the development.

The Army has been asked to remain on alert to help the state deal with any eventuality arising out of the situation, an official spokesperson said.

J&K

Thirty people, including women and children, were rescued in Jammu and Kashmir during a flash flood in Kathua district, police said on Monday. These people were marooned in different parts of the district following heavy rains. They were rescued after a night-long operation in Billawar, Nagri, Jakhole and Chabbe Chak among others, a senior police officer said here.

The rescue was carried out by the state police and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) teams. All educational institutions in the hilly district of Doda have been closed as a precautionary measure. Traffic on the Jammu-Srinagar highway was restored on Monday after it was suspended due to heavy rains along the Ramban sector on Sunday.

The gates of the Ranjit Sagar dam were also opened to release excess water.



Karnataka

Bengaluru and its surrounding districts on Monday received heavy rainfall, inundating several low-lying areas, uprooting trees and flooding roads, an official said.

"Bengaluru got an average of 4cm rains due to the southwest monsoon, which is still active over the state," India Meteorological Department's (IMD) Bengaluru director CS Patil said. The rains are expected to continue over next five days, the official said.

The downpour, which began on Sunday evening, continued till the early on Monday. The overnight rains, which were as heavy as 20cm in certain regions of the city, uprooted many trees and flooded many homes and roads.

"We have been receiving distress calls from people in the southern suburbs of the city reporting flooding of roads and the basements of their apartment buildings," an official from the city's civic authority said.

The civic body officials have been clearing several uprooted trees in various parts of the city which were blocking vehicular movement. Several storm water drains were also overflowing due to the heavy monsoon.
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