Most roads in Himachal remain shut on third day

Shimla, Jan 9 (IANS) Most of the roads in the interiors of Himachal Pradesh remained closed to traffic for the third consecutive day on Monday after heavy snowfall.

However, the Chandigarh-Manali and Chandigarh-Shimla national highways were reopened for traffic.

Officials said roads in the higher reaches of Kinnaur, Shimla, Chamba, Kullu and Sirmaur districts were severely hit by heavy snowfall and work was on to reopen these.

Additional Chief Secretary Tarun Shridhar told reporters in Shimla that 208 of the 562 major and minor roads in the state have been reopened, while efforts were on to restore electricity supply, especially in Shimla and its surrounding areas that was hit badly owing to uprooting of trees.

“Almost 70 per cent of the electricity was restored in Shimla,” he added.

Taking stock of the situation arising due to the recent heavy snowfall, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh released Rs 25 crore for restoration of roads, electricity and water in the snow-affected areas.

He directed the electricity department to ensure supply of electricity in Shimla by Tuesday evening and at the earliest in other parts of the state.

Officials said vehicular traffic on the Shimla-Theog-Rohru road via Kharapathar remained shut for the third day as a thick layer of snow covered the road.

Buses from Shimla town to Rampur and Kinnaur district were restored via Mashobra.

The internal roads in the tourist resorts of Shimla, Manali and Dalhousie were too slippery for traffic after the snowfall.

Although the Shimla Municipal Corporation has cleared snow on Cart Road and some VIP roads, most of the other roads have not been cleared yet.

Due to slippery condition of roads and pathways in Shimla, over 20 people, most of them tourists, were injured, police said.

Keylong, district headquarters of Lahaul and Spiti, was the coldest town in the state with a low of minus 12 degrees Celsius.

The night temperature in the state capital was minus 0.8 degree Celsius, while popular tourist resort Manali saw a low of 6.2 degrees below freezing point. Kalpa in Kinnaur district was minus 7.6 degrees.

The minimum temperature at Dharamsala was 7.2 degrees Celsius.

The government has warned tourists not to venture into the high hills as chances of road cave-ins and landslides are high.

The Met department here said the weather would largely remain dry in the state in the next three-four days.

However, local thundershowers could occur due to availability of abundant moisture owing to recent wet spell.