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Taps go dry in Shimla as rains hit water supply, Manali cut off by monsoon fury

The weather department has predicted heavy downpur for Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir.

Shimla: Hit hard by the unprecedented monsoon fury, Himachal Pradesh is struggling to cope with flash floods that have washed away roads and damaged water supply and power infrastructure in the state.

The popular tourist town of Manali is completely cut off from Kullu following caving in of the National Highway which also connects Lahaul-Spiti.

“There is no water supply and power for the past two days. Our mobile phones are not working. Only those who re-charge their phones in the cars are able to make emergency calls,” said Kartik Thakur, a young hotelier at Kullu.

The state’s capital Shimla has plunged into a crisis following suspension of the water supply because of high turbidity level at water sources in the Giri river, Neuti khad and Chaba.

“The turbidity has reached alarming proportions following torrential rains on Sunday and also Monday. It has affected the lifting of the water for regular supply in Shimla city. The raw turbidity at the Giri water source was 16,700 NTU,” said the spokesman of the Shimla Jal Prabandhan Nigam.

The water supply from five out of six sources has been completely suspended due to a high turbidity level. Only source feeding Shimla is Gumma—a British era scheme. As against the daily requirement of 45 MLD in the city, only 6.34 MLD water was supplied on Sunday.

On Monday, there was only 1.69 MLD of water supplied to Shimla reflecting how the crisis hit the Shimla population so badly.

Many areas in the city did not receive water supply on Sunday and the situation might worsen in the coming days. Residents requisitioned water tankers and some of them even headed to traditional “bauris” to fetch water.

Sources said the situation had turned grim and residents would face an acute water scarcity if the rain continued—a reminder of 2018 water crisis in Shimla

The SJPNL officials have advised citizens to use water judiciously and consume it only after boiling or filtering. “It is an emergency situation. No one is sure when the level of turbidity at the water sources will get reduced”, said officials .

Elsewhere in the state scary visuals of the flash flood from Thunag, an area in Seraj, the constituency of former Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur. Further a cloudburst in Solan has also triggered a major landslide at Chewa village.

The NDRF has been able to rescue 6 people stranded in the Beas river near Nagwain village in Mandi.

Life has been thrown completely out of gear in the high-altitude tribal district of Lahaul-Spiti amid unprecedented floods –a rare thing in the valley which never had seen monsoon rains till one and half decades back.

In Una, a district bordering Punjab, the rains have broken a 30- year old record since 1993.

The MeT office at Shimla on Monday forecast heavy to extremely heavy rain on the third consecutive day in Himachal Pradesh that previously caused statewide landslides and blocking of highways and link roads. The government advised people to avoid travel until it was extremely necessary.

Fifteen people have lost their lives in the past 24 hours.

As torrential rain continued to wreak havoc for the third day, there is a report of a cloudburst in Lagghati  area of  Kullu.  More than 100 bighas of land has been washed away due to cloudburst.

Meanwhile Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu said he was monitoring the situation closely and sought help from the Centre to organise rescue, relief and restoration measures as the state has been badly affected. He also appealed to the people to cooperate with the local administration in providing help to the affected people.

Sukhu also monitored the rescue operation of about 29 people trapped in Manali’s potato ground and about 200 tourists stranded near Chandratal Lake in Lahaul and Spiti district.  With the efforts of the rescue team, these 29 people trapped in Manali were rescued by 8 AM this morning.