Avalanche killed a couple in Pangi valley of Chamba district, while a landslide killed a woman and a boy of a family in Nirmand sub-division of Kullu district after boulders hit them. Hundreds of roads were blocked by heavy rain and snowfall in the snowbound areas of Himachal Pradesh on Monday. Administration has sounded an alert in tribals districts of Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur besides Pangi-Bhrmaur regions of Chamba district. Himachal Pradesh School Education Board too has postponed the board examination in the state till March 9.
According to Shimla Meteorological Centre during last 24 hours Himachal Pradesh received rainfall and snowfall at most places with heavy to very heavy rainfall and snowfall at few places. State as a whole received 57.5mm of precipitation against 2.8mm of its normal value, this is 1950% more than its normal value. All the districts received excessive rainfall from their normal value.
District Solan and Sirmaur received the highest precipitation i.e. 113 and 110mm respectively, officials said. Most of the stations received ever highest rainfall and snowfall in a day during the month of March. Una received 81.0mm of rainfall after March 13, 1911 and Renuka received 149.0mm after March 27, 1967.
A couple identified as 36-year-old Shyam Dass Up- Pradhan (Vice-President) of Gram Panchayat Rei and his wife 32-year-od Shanti Devi were killed when an avalanche struck at Chho nullah. Sources said that around 20 residents of Rei village were heading for a temple to attend the local fair when suddenly avalanche struck the area and swept away Shyam Dass and Shanti Devi into Chanderbagha river.
Forest Minister Thakur Singh Bharmouri has directed the local administration to rush to the spot and provide immediate relief to the family members of the deceased.
Sources said that Pangi valley like rest of Himachal Pradesh is receiving snowfall for last two days and so far around 50 cm snowfall has been recorded in the valley. District Administration in the wake of heavy snowfall has closed the schools till March 5 while residents have preferred to remain indoors instead of venturing out.
Seeing heavy rain and snowfall, board examination for class 10th, 11th and 12th have been postponed in the state till March 9. According to board officials now examination would start on March 9 and would conclude on March 31, while earlier it was scheduled to start on March 3.
In tribal areas of state including Kinnaur, Lahaul-Spiti, Pangi-Bharmaur regions of Chamba, continuous snowfall during last 24 hours has created troubles for the residents due to increased threat of avalanches.
“Heavy snowfall has made it difficult to move from one village to another then how would the students reach examination centres set up several km away. Before announcing the examination in the tribals areas, board should check the ground realities before March 9,” said Prem Lal a resident of Jobrang village.
Shanta Kumar Negi a resident from Reckong Peo in Kinnaur said that instead of March 9 board should now conduct the examination in April as by then weather conditions would improve. “Moving in the open after heavy snowfall has become risky as threat of landslide and avalanche has increased,” he added.
It is not the tribal areas alone where heavy snowfall has thrown the normal life out of gear. In Shimla district normal life was crippled on Monday after fresh spell of rain and snowfall. Heavy snowfall in Kufri and beyond blocked the national highway due to which traffic came to standstill on this route. Buses bound for Rohru, Chopal and Rampur were routed through Basantpur. In Upper Shimla, heavy snowfall was recorded at Kufri, Narkanda, Kharapatthar and Khidki.
Shimla Deputy Commissioner Dinesh Malhotra said that all schools in Shimla district would remain closed for Tuesday and Wednesday due to bad weather conditions. He said that efforts are on to restore the supply in the areas where snowfall has disrupted electricity and water supply.