Thursday, Dec 01, 2022
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Varuna's Growl

Varuna's Growl

Even as the rest of the country was rejoicing over this year’s bounteous monsoon, there were those for whom it came like a fatal excess. A largish group of people in Kullu valley—the figure ranged from the official 35 to 100 to even 200—were said to have been washed away in flash floods caused by a cloudburst on July 17 in the Gharasa valley. The victims were mostly labourers from Bihar and UP employed in the NHPC’s 800 MW Parvati project on the banks of the Pullianallah, a tributary of Beas, near Shilagarh village. The bodycount kept rising as relief operations continued in hellish conditions. Cloudbursts are not new in Himachal. It happens when cold and warm air currents clash in a mountain valley, causing a cloud-mass to shed the whole load of its moisture at one go. Disastrous cloudbursts of a similar nature in Manali and Kinnaur, in September ’95 and September ’98, killed 60 and 32 people respectively.

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