Saturday, 4 August 2012

Flash flood wreaks havoc in Manali, kills one

Himachal Vacation Travel News
MANALI: A person was killed, 82 families rendered homeless, two major bailey bridges, 200 meter highway, a hydel project and a dozen vehicles washed away after a flash flood in Seri stream, tributary of river Beas, at south portal of Rohtang tunnel, wreaked havoc after 8pm on Friday night. The total loss, according to preliminary estimates, is over Rs fifty crore.
Body of a person, who was drowned along with his car in Manali, was recovered after a distance of 15km towards Kullu. Many trucks, tractor and JCB machines of BRO and over 50 temporary built houses of labourers were washed away from Bahang village.

“We spent a horrible night guarding our houses from river in spate amid the screams of people who were shifting their household accessories away from the river,” Sanjeev Kumar, a resident of Bahang village, said. He added that nobody slept all night and they kept watching the water level of river with help of flood lights. Similar was the conditions in Palchan, Aluground, Kalath, Bahnu, 18 Mile and dozens of villages of Kullu.

A bailey bridge on approach road to south portal of Rohtang tunnel was completely damaged. Hundreds of labourers and engineers have stranded on the other side of the bridge. The connecting road to the tunnel has also damaged at four places which has badly affected the construction work on the tunnel.

SP Sharma, chief engineer of Rohtang tunnel project told Himachal Vacation that flood in Seri stream has caused considerable damage to the highway which has affected the construction work on the tunnel. “Our all men are safe and working on the site. Work has been started to repair the damaged portion,” he said.

Another bailey bridge connecting Manali-Leh highway with army transit camp at Palchan has been completely damaged. Hundreds of vehicles have been stranded along the Manali-Leh highway as road link has been damaged at Palchan, 9km from here. Keeping in view the safety of tourists and locals, administration has installed a temporary barrier at Vashisht chowk, about 2km from here. Traffic on Manali-Kullu national highway also remained closed till Saturday morning as a small stretch of highway was washed away by river at Rangari on Friday night.
Over 50 per cent of the newly built hydel project, including its power house and weir site has been damaged by the deadly flow of river water mixed with sludge and huge logs of trees. The protective crate walls between Palchan and Kullu have been damaged badly Beas has changed its course at many places.

Police have evacuated hundreds of families residing near the river banks between Palchan and Kullu to safe places late night. Fearing danger to their houses, many people, mostly labourers, remained engaged in dismantling their properties all day on Saturday.

Kullu deputy commissioner Amitabh Awasthi said that relief works are being carried out on war footings and people have been moved to safe places. “Damaged roads are being repaired. Locals and tourists are advised not to venture close to rivers and streams as their water level may rise suddenly any time,” he said.

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