High alert in Himachal as landslides, house collapses kill 32 (Second Lead)

September 20th, 2008 - 9:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, Sep 20 (IANS) At least 32 people were killed in building collapses and landslides triggered by heavy rains in and around Shimla, prompting the Himachal Pradesh government to sound a high alert in the state Saturday.Shimla Superintendent of Police R.M. Sharma told IANS that four children and a man, all from Nepal, were killed at Chadgoan in Rohru subdivision Friday night when a house collapsed.

Sharma said six people of a family were buried alive in their house at a village near Kotkhai, 150 km from here. Six more villagers of two families were killed in a landslide at Pulbhal village.

In Shimla town, six people were killed in various landslides.

Two Tibetans were killed when a massive landslide destroyed more than 20 makeshift shops.

“At around 10.30 p.m. yesterday (Friday), the landslide was triggered by massive rainfall in the lower Shimla area, where most of the makeshift shops of the Tibetans are located,” Sharma said.

The market is popularly known as Tibetan Market.

Sharma said: “Rescue operation is on and so far two bodies, one of an old man, have been recovered.”

Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal directed senior officials to ensure timely provision of relief and rehabilitation material to the affected people.

He directed authorities to keep a vigil on the water level of the rivers and rivulets and take remedial steps to save the life and property of the people.

Dhumal said that effective steps needed to be taken in rescuing people stranded on various routes in tribal areas, including Keylong, Sarchu, Gramphu and Chhatru in Lahaul and Spiti district, as more deaths were reported from various parts of the state.

A couple from Uttarakhand identified as Sukh Ram, 27 and Muni, 26, and their child were killed when their kiosk collapsed Friday night. Another person died when his tenement collapsed in the town.

At Rampur town, two people were killed in landslides.

Sharma said at Theog town, 45 km from here, two people lost their lives due to landslides.

Two persons were swept away in the river at Matiana and Chopal villages.

One person each was killed at Narkanda, Nogli and Nerba villages in the district.

Meanwhile, in the state capital, traffic came to a halt in several areas due to landslides and uprooted trees blocking the roads, causing inconvenience to thousands of weekend tourists and local residents.

Traffic on the Circular Road here, the lifeline of Shimla, came to a halt in the morning as huge Deodar trees (Himalayan cedar) collapsed on the roads in various areas.

Traffic on the Chandigarh-Manali Highway No. 21 was blocked. National Highway 22 too remained blocked due to landslides in Kinnaur district.

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