Himachal Pradesh: Mandi-Kullu highway opened after 20 hours

The highway was blocked due to a landslide near 7 Mile in Mandi

New Delhi: The national highway, that connects Manali in Himachal Pradesh with Chandigarh, has been reopened for traffic after remaining shut for more than 20 hours between Kullu and Mandi towns owing to heavy landslides triggered by rains, officials said on Monday.

“The traffic between Manali and Mandi has been restored for all class of vehicles,” an official told IANS.

The Chandigarh-Manali highway is crucial for the movement of the armed forces and their supplies and wares to forward areas in Ladakh.

Hundreds of tourists travelling towards the Kullu-Manali destination were inconvenienced after the closure of roads due to landslides triggered by rains, hampered the plying of vehicles. Most of the motorists had to spend the night in vehicles.

Incessant monsoon rainfall in the region over the past two days triggered massive landslides that blocked the Mandi and Pandoh highways.

The highway has been blocked since Sunday evening. As a result, long queues of tourist vehicles were witnessed.

Due to the blockade, scores of domestic tourists were stranded at hotels in Manali and Kullu areas — considered the gateway to the Keylong-Leh segment.

The picturesque Kullu and Manali Valleys are frequently visited by tourists.

A meteorological department official here said the state witnessed moderate to heavy rainfall in the past 24 hours.

Nearly 100 metres of the national highway was badly damaged in the landslide that occurred near Pandoh in Mandi district. Hundreds of vehicles remained stranded on both sides of the affected area.

A day earlier, the traffic on the highway was hampered near Aut owing to swollen river that inundated the highway.

The police have stopped vehicular traffic beyond Mandi towards Kullu and from Kullu towards Mandi.

Official sources said the supply of milk, bread, newspaper and other household items was impacted with the closure of the highway, the lifeline of Kullu-Manali segment.

The alternate road link between Mandi and Kullu via Kataula was also hampered by the massive landslide near Kamad since Sunday night, official sources said.

Considering the expected heavy rainfall, the Traffic, Tourist and Railway (TTR) Police in Himachal Pradesh has advised the public to avoid unnecessary travel and ascertain the weather conditions.

It has recommended to avoid visiting camp sites adjacent to rivers and rivulets and landslide-prone areas until the rainy season is over.

In the state, two people drowned over the past 48 hours while several vehicles and houses were damaged as the monsoon rains intensified.

Mandi district is the worst affected that saw flash floods, landslides and cloudbursts.

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