DHARAMSALA: Ten persons missing in a massive landslide at Boh valley of Kangra district on Monday are presumed dead now by the authorities, taking the toll in the calamity to 11.
One body was retrieved on Monday while 10 persons were missing. The rescue operations had been going on amid the debris of five houses since early morning. However, till afternoon, nobody could be located. The authorities are now presuming that all the missing are dead.
Deputy Commissioner Nipun Jindal said the rescue operations were still going on, but chances of survival of the 10 missing persons were bleak.
There was a pall of gloom as kin gathered around the debris of five houses that had been buried under landslide. MP Kishan Kapoor reached the spot and tried to console the wailing family members of missing persons.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur made an aerial survey of flood-hit areas in the Boh Valley in Kangra district and later met affected families.
He took stock of the losses suffered and met affected families of the area. He directed the district administration to take up the relief and rehabilitation work on war-footing in the affected areas.
Thakur said Rs 4 lakh each would be provided to the families of the deceased and financial help would be given to the people whose houses had been damaged in the calamity.
The Chief Minister said a team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) was coordinating with the district administration in rescue and relief works and all-out efforts were being made to trace the missing persons.
He also talked to Sirmaur Deputy Commissioner Ram Gautam on the phone and enquired about the rescue of the people who got stranded on an island in Giri river in Paonta Sahib subdivision.
Kangra Senior Superintendent of Police Vimukt Ranjan told the media that the rescue operation is on.
Eleven houses were either washed away or damaged in the flash floods, he said. The nine missing people of Rulehar village comprise four women.
Meanwhile, the clouds scattered and sun did shine in the Dharamsala region bringing reprieve to people of the region. The water in rivers receded and people who had vacated their houses yesterday in Bagli villages returned home.
The resident of four houses that were destroyed in flash flood in Manji river have been housed in local government school.
Elsewhere, at least 10 parked cars, largely of tourists, were washed away and houses were partially damaged in flash floods on Monday in upper Dharamsala.
Dharamsala, nearly 250 kms from the state capital Shimla, recorded precipitation of 392 mm, the highest ever during this monsoon. The damage to property was reported in the vicinity of McLeodganj, the political, cultural and spiritual hub of the Tibetan diaspora.
Chetru, some 10 km from Dharamsala, was among the worst affected villages in Kangra where six houses, 10 shops and a bridge were washed away. A school in nearby Passu village was also damaged.
Jai Ram Thakur expressed grief over the loss of life and property due to heavy rains.
He directed the district authorities to ensure speedy relief and rescue operations in the affected areas. He urged local people and tourists to refrain from going near the river banks to avoid any untoward incident.
The Pathankot-Mandi highway has been blocked for traffic due to landslides at several places and minor damage to a bridge near Manali.
The rail traffic on the Pathankot-Jogindernagar narrow gauge line was halted due to landslides.
A total of 184 roads, including three national highways, were blocked due landslides across the state.
The national highway 5 was blocked near Jhakri in Shimla district.
The weather bureau here has forecast heavy to very heavy rainfall likely to continue in Kangra, Hamirpur, Mandi, Bilaspur, Shimla, Sirmaur and Solan districts in the next 24 hours. Thereafter, rainfall intensity may decrease.
India Meteorological Department (IMD) Director Surender Paul told the media that heavy rains may trigger landslides, inundations in low-lying areas, heavy runoff in rivulets and disruptions of civic amenities.