The India Meteorological Department issued an orange alert on Sunday for Himachal Pradesh as they predict more localised flooding and landslides over the next few days. The 149-year-old historic building in Shimla that houses the Indian Institute of Advanced Study has developed cracks and looking at the possibility of further landslides in the area, the state police have written to the state geologist for conducting an inspection for safety purposes.
The IMD has posted an alert on X that heavy to very heavy rainfall may occur in Himachal Pradesh with the rainfall estimate ranging from 115.6 to 204.4 mm for the dates of August 22-24.
On Saturday IMD had given a similar alert for August 19-21, they posted on X, "#HimachalPradesh is under an Orange Alert for heavy to very heavy rainfall, with estimates ranging from 115.6 to 204.4 mm on 19th to 21st August. Stay safe!"
Shimla IIAS at risk after landslides
The landslide in the outer lawns of the Viceregal Lodge, presently housing the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS) here, has raised concern about the safety of the 149-year old historic building.
The landslide in the Summer Hill here on August 14, which seemingly started from the periphery of the extended lawns of IIAS, uprooted tall deodar trees and swallowed a Shiv temple, claiming 17 lives.
Cracks developed in some portion of the IIAS complex and preventative steps have been taken but there is no danger to the historic building, Deputy Commissioner, Shimla, Aditya Negi told PTI.
“There is a possibility of landslide at IIAS which may cause loss of lives and property and we have written to the State geologist to conduct an inspection of the IIAS and immediately submit a report in this regard," he added.
Situated on Observatory hill, the Viceregal Lodge was constructed by flattening the hill and the debris was dumped on the slopes which settled over time.
The main building which was constructed in the early 1880s and was residence of Viceroy Lord Dufferin during 1884-1888, was on sound footing. The massive landslide was mainly the debris which had loosened and become ductile due to seepage.
After Independence, the lodge was named as “Rashtrapati Bhawan” because the President of India used to come and stay here during summer months.
Himachal Pradesh death toll reaches 78
The death toll in rain-related incidents in Himachal Pradesh over the past week rose to 78 on Saturday with the recovery of another body from the debris of a collapsed temple in Shimla.
Of the 78 deaths since Sunday night, 24 were in the three major landslides in Shimla alone -- 17 at the Shiv temple in Summer Hill, 5 in Fagli, and 2 in Krishnanagar, Superintendent, Shimla, Sanjeev Kumar Gandhi told PTI on Saturday.
Joint operations of the Army, National and State Disaster Response Force, Police and Home Guards are underway to retrieve the bodies from the landslide rubble and at least three persons are still feared buried under the temple debris, the SP said.
Drones are being used for identification of high-risk zones and monitoring of sliding sites in the state capital, he added.
Since the onset of the monsoon in Himachal Pradesh on June 24, 338 people have died in rain-related incidents and road accidents in the state while 38 people are missing, according to the state emergency operation centre.
Of the 338 deaths, 221 people have died in rain-related incidents in Himachal Pradesh, it said.
(With PTI inputs)