Kinnaur tragedy a ‘natural’ occurrence, says GSI team

Bhanu P Lohumi
Tribune News Service
Shimla, July 31

Shooting boulders near Batseri on the Sangla-Chitkul road in Kinnaur district, which killed nine tourists on July 25, was a natural incident of rock fall from very high hills.

A three-member team of the Geological Survey of India (GSI) visited the spot. Kinnaur falls in the seismic zone 5. Loose boulders on a steep slope with thick debris led to the mishap, said Deputy Director General (state unit Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh) Dr Ghanshyam Tewari.

Highest rain in July after 16 years

  • Himachal recorded the highest rainfall of 289.1 mm during July after 16 years, when the state recorded 309.3 mm rain
  • Kullu district received largely excess rainfall, Hamirpur and Kangra districts received excess rainfall, Bilaspur, Mandi, Kinnaur, Shimla, Sirmaur, Solan and Una had normal rainfall while Lahaul and Spiti and Chamba districts received deficit rainfall
  • There were 28 rainy days during the month of which heavy rain occurred on 12 days. The state received 373.1 mm rain during the current monsoon season from June 1 to July 31, which was normal.

The shooting boulders have impacted the hills and vigilance is required at the 200-300-metre stretch. The remedial steps, suggested by the team, included the installation of movement protector, catch fence and construction of a create wall and rock wall shelter.

The team has stated that the sliding could continue during rain as big boulders have shaken the hills and the road will be closed for a week till rain stops, said Deputy Commissioner, Kinnaur, Abid Hussain Sadiq. "We are also writing to the GSI for rock mapping of 15 vulnerable points in the district," he added.

Nine persons, including three members of a family and four women, were killed in the mishap while three others, including local pedestrians, sustained injuries. The vehicle carrying 11 persons was on its way to Kalpa from Chitkul when the tragedy struck.

As many as 378 roads, including 129 roads in Mandi district, 96 in Shimla and 45 in Chamba, are still closed due to landslides and 107 water supply schemes are affected.

Meanwhile, moderate to heavy rain continued to lash the region and Chowari with 77 mm of rain was the wettest. The local Met office has issued yellow warning of heavy rain in Una, Chamba, Kangra, Mandi, Kullu, Shimla, Solan and Sirmaur for two days.

There is no significant change in the minimum and maximum temperatures and Keylong was the coldest at night at 12.7 degree C while Bilaspur was the hottest in day with a high of 33.0 degree C.

Courtesy: Tribune News Service
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