Kinnaur district has been cut off from Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh, following a major landslide at Negulsari on National Highway 5 on Thursday night, officials said.
However, no casualty was reported as vehicular traffic was stopped on the road late on Thursday evening.
A stretch of about 150-300 metre of the NH has been badly damaged, K L Suman, executive engineer, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), said, adding that it is not even possible to cross the stretch on foot.
A large number of vehicles, including apple-laden trucks coming from Kinnaur, are stranded on the road. The apple growers are worried as their produce will rot if the road is not opened soon.
Machinery and manpower have been deployed, but stones falling from the hills are obstructing the road opening work, the officials said.
Meanwhile, Revenue, Horticulture and Tribal Development Minister Jagat Singh Negi, who is also the MLA from Kinnaur, visited the spot and directed officials to clear the road on a war footing.
He inspected the spot with the help of drone cameras and directed the officials to arrange for the trans-shipment (buses and vehicles stuck on the Kinnaur side would take passengers coming from Shimla and move back towards Kinnaur and vice versa) of passengers and goods.
There are 17,120 landslide-prone sites in the hill state, including 675 located near critical infrastructure and habitations. Negulsari is among the 15 such prioritised sites in the tribal district of Kinnaur. The other significant spots in the district include Urni Dhank, Batsari, Nesang and Purbani Julha.
So far, 111 people have died in 164 landslides in Himachal Pradesh since the onset of monsoon on June 24, while the number of people killed in rain-related incidents is 263, according to the state emergency operation centre.
Kinnaur has witnessed five landslides during the ongoing monsoon season. A total of 128 roads are still blocked for vehicular traffic in the state.
Twenty-eight people were killed and 13 injured in a major landslide at Negulsari on August 11, 2021 as a Himachal Roadways Transport Corporation (HRTC) bus and some other vehicles got buried under the debris.