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Himachal Pradesh hit by record floods and rain events in monsoon 2023

The southwest monsoon season of 2023, which concluded, was classified as “below-normal” with 6% less precipitation than normal.

By Ground Report
New Update
Himachal Pradesh hit by record floods and rain events in monsoon 2023

The southwest monsoon season of 2023, which concluded, was classified as “below-normal” with 6% less precipitation than normal. The India Meteorological Department data indicates that Himachal Pradesh experienced the highest number of floods and heavy rain events (123) during this period.

Himachal Pradesh, already grappling with 180 instances of landslides and flash flooding, saw a 157% increase in rainfall. Experts attribute this to the Himalayan mountains, their soil, and vegetation, which cannot absorb the excess water, resulting in landslides and soil erosion.

Unscientific slope cutting during road enlargement and detritus disposal into the Beas and Sutlej rivers have exacerbated the crisis by raising water levels and flooding riverbanks. Illegal construction practices in cities such as Shimla, Dharamshala, Manali, and Mandi have led to home collapses and landslides.

The geological strata of the region have been further compromised by blasting for hydroelectric projects and tunnelling for highways and power projects. Renowned geologist Professor ON Bhargwa asserts that the disaster in Himachal Pradesh is more human-made than natural. He argues that concrete structures on riverbanks impede natural seepage processes, leading to inundation and alteration of river courses.

The escalating disaster is also attributed to unscientific road enlargement and debris disposal into rivers. The construction of roads and hydroelectric projects has made Himalayan rivers unpredictable. Rising temperatures in the Hindu Kush Himalayas are causing diminishing snowlines and retreating glaciers.

Himachal Pradesh's public infrastructure has incurred an estimated Rs 7,000 crore in damage. The impact has affected over 1,400 roads, hundreds of potable water systems, and power supply lines. Roadblocks have led to shortages of petroleum, vegetables, milk, bread, among other necessities in many regions of the state. Landslides have blocked an estimated 950 roads disrupting state transport buses on approximately 2,100 routes and stranding locals.

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