Fresh landslide in Himachal, NH 5 blocked at Chaura, vehicles stranded

Huge boulders and other debris came sliding down to the road near the natural tunnel at the entry to Kinnaur district on Friday night, hindering all movement

Representative image of landslide in Himachal Pradesh (photo: Getty Images)
Representative image of landslide in Himachal Pradesh (photo: Getty Images)
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PTI

The tribal district of Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh was cut off from state capital Shimla following a massive landslide on the Hindustan-Tibet Road (National Highway 5) at Chaura, officials said on Saturday.

Huge boulders and other debris came sliding down on to the road near the natural tunnel at the entry of Kinnaur district on Friday night, hindering even pedestrian movement.

With the apple season not yet over in the higher hills, a large number of vehicles, including trucks, are stranded on either side of the blockade.

Officials said on Saturday that restoration work is underway in full swing and boulders are being removed. Heavy machinery has been deployed to drill the hard rock and carve a passage for stranded vehicles.

Earlier too, the NH 5 was blocked near Nugalsari, a few kilometers before Chaura, following a massive landslide on the night of 7 September, and it was almost 10 days before the road was reopened to traffic.

Frequent landslides on this road in an ecologically fragile area has become a bane for local residents and fruit producers, especially apple-growers, who said they want a lasting solution.

Kinnaur is famous for high quality apples and transportation from the lower belts of Kinnaur begins in August, while apples from higher reaches continue to arrive in the markets until November-end. However, apple production has declined this year owing to inclement weather.

About 30 lakh boxes are expected in 2023 in Kinnaur as compared to about 40-42 lakh boxes last year, deputy director horticulture (Kinnaur) Ajay Kumar Dhiman said. 

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Published: 07 Oct 2023, 1:20 PM
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