Rains wreak havoc in Kinnaur district, HP CM stranded

Last Updated: Mon, Jun 17, 2013 06:34 hrs

Shimla:  Incessant heavy rains wreaked havoc in tribal Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh where eight persons were feared dead in landslides that blocked important roads leaving Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh stranded in Sangla Valley.

About 1000 tourists and locals were stranded at various places, including 800 in Sangla alone and heavy rains were hampering the rescue operations, officials said today.

Areas beyond Tapri have been cut off due to numerous landslides on Hindustan-Tibet National Highway and Singh, who was campaigning for Mandi Lok Sabha by-elections, was stranded in Sangla Valley in Kinnaur district last night.

The approach roads to the area are blocked due to landslides and efforts are being made to evacuate Singh by helicopter, officials said.

"Work is on to reopen the link road to Sangla Valley and other major roads to evacuate over 1000 tourists, stranded at various places in the district, mainly in Sangla area," Deputy Commissioner J M Pathania said today.

He said five members of a family were buried alive in a massive landslide in village Chagaon village near Tapri, about 220 km from state capital Shimla, late last night.

One person was buried under debris in landslide in Tapir, one in Yula and two in Morangin villages in the tribal district and chances of their survival are nil, he said.

About 25 foreigners and a Doordarshan team were also stranded in Kinnaur district between Namgya and Khaab, close to Tibet border as heavy rains triggered landslides at numerous places.

Unusual heavy downpour in Spiti and Pooh, known as cold deserts, has taken people by surprise.

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