More than 450 roads, including three national highways, have been blocked due to the recent snowfall in the higher reaches and tribal areas of Himachal Pradesh, officials said on Tuesday. The maximum 180 roads are blocked in Shimla, 150 in Lahaul and Spiti, 72 in Kinnaur, 35 in Kullu, 27 in Chamba, eight in Mandi and two each in Kangra and Sirmaur districts, they said, adding that in all 479 roads were blocked.
According to the data of the state emergency operation centre, 697 transformers were also disrupted across the state. Man and machinery has been deployed in snow-bound areas and road clearing operations are going on in full swing, said Public Works Department officials. Pooh and Kalpa in tribal Kinnaur received 11 cm and 8.6 cm of snow respectively, Khadrala in Shimla district 6 cm and Kukumseri and Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti received 4.8 cm and 3 cm respectively, they said.
Widespread intermittent rains lashed parts of mid and low hills, with Chamba receiving 55.5 mm rainfall, the wettest in the region. It was followed by Dharamshala 25.3 mm, Kangra 20.6 mm, Manali 9 mm and Palampur 6.6 mm, they said. The region received an average 86.2 mm rain against a normal of 85.3 mm – excess of one per cent, officials said.
Barring light rain and snow at isolated places in mid and high hills on February 2, the local Met Office has predicted dry weather in the state till February 4. The apple growers in upper Shimla and Kinnaur are happy as snow, considered white manure for the apple, is beneficial for the fruit. However, the tourism industry which was expecting an increase in the footfall following snowfall was unhappy as snowfall eluded Shimla.