Some 200o people, mostly tourists, had a difficult time after being trapped due to a roadblock between Mandi and Kullu in Himachal Pradesh. The blockade occurred yesterday at 5:00 p.m. and has resulted in a long traffic jam of more than 15 kilometres, leaving those affected without hotel rooms and without information on the expected duration of the delay.
Delhi-Manali road blocked
The road has been impassable since Sunday night when landslides occurred at various places between Mandi and Pandoh, halting traffic.
The highway has become inaccessible and the authorities estimate that the road will not reopen for at least another seven hours. This leaves people stranded facing a grueling wait of more than 12 hours, with no respite in sight. Adding to the difficulties, the damaged condition of a section of the road has forced some people to try to cross on foot.
Numerous tourists heading to Kullu-Manali from Mandi or travelling to Mandi from the Kullu side faced inconvenience as they had to spend the night in their vehicles.
Restoration work underway
The police redirected the movement of light vehicles through the Chailchowk-Pandoh route between Mandi and Kullu. However, heavy vehicles remain stranded on the road. Additional Police Superintendent Sagar Chander stated that restoration work is currently underway and the road is expected to reopen to traffic in the afternoon.
“Mandi-Kullu road through Katola is closed due to heavy landslide near Kamand, it is expected to open tomorrow and there will be no work at night. Around 25-30 vehicles are stuck between that place and another place due to the landslide behind them as well. Arrangements are being made for people to stay, and efforts are being made to clear the rubble overnight,” Mandi police added.
As time passes, stranded people deal with uncertainty and growing concern for their well-being. The lack of adequate communication and support mechanisms further compounds the challenges they face.
Heavy rain in Mandi
Mandi district faced another day of heavy rain, which left devastation in its wake. The heavy downpour caused significant damage to roads, stables, houses and vehicles in various parts of the district. Landslides became commonplace, resulting in the blocking of 32 roads throughout the area.
The Mandi-Pathankot road was inaccessible for nearly four hours due to a flash flood at Swad nullah, near Ghatasni. Similarly, the Mandi-Kullu highway experienced a blockade near Kamand, while the Chandigarh-Manali highway was affected near Aut in Mandi.
In the Seraj area, three vehicles were swept away by a flash flood, creating a dangerous situation. An individual was stranded for almost three hours in his flooded agricultural field in Nagchala. Fortunately, he was able to communicate with his family, prompting the villagers and Fire Brigade personnel to launch a successful rescue operation and bring him to safety.
Reports indicate that a house in the Jogindernagar subdivision was damaged and a community building in the Sadar block was destroyed by a landslide. Also, extensive flooding in the Balh Valley submerged a significant part of agricultural land, leading to losses in the tomato crop.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a flash flood warning for Himachal Pradesh in the next 24 hours, along with a weather alert for the next five days.
According to the IMD, there is a high probability of heavy rain, thunderstorms and lightning in isolated locations over the plains, as well as in the low and mid foothills on June 25 and 26. Flash floods are expected in Kangra, Mandi and Solan districts, leading to potential traffic congestion, reduced visibility and power outages.
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