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Manali

Manali, Dalhousie wrapped in white blanket

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A western disturbance over Himachal Pradesh brought more snowfall to popular destinations Manali and Dalhousie on Tuesday, and lashed the state capital with rain.
 
The minimum temperature here was 3.3 degrees Celsius, while it was minus 3.8 degrees in Manali and 2.1 degrees in Dalhousie in Chamba district.
 
Manali and Dalhousie saw 9 cm and 2 cm snowfall, respectively.
 
"Higher reaches of Lahaul-Spiti, Kinnaur, Kullu, Shimla, Sirmaur and Chamba districts have been experiencing moderate snowfall since Monday, while mid and lower hills are experiencing rain," said a Met official here.
 
Kalpa, some 250 km from here, and Keylong in Lahaul-Spiti have also experienced snowfall. Keylong was the coldest place in the state with a low of minus eight degrees, while it was minus 3.6 degrees in Kalpa.
 
The Met said the western disturbance -- storm system originating from the Mediterranean-Caspian Sea region and moving across the Afghanistan-Pakistan region -- would start withdrawing by Wednesday.
 
IANS

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Snow, rains bring down mercury in Himachal

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Snow and widespread rains on Saturday brought down temperatures across Himachal Pradesh, a Met official said.
 
While the tourist resorts of Shimla and Manali witnessed rains, other hill stations like Kalpa and Chitkul in Kinnaur district and Keylong in Lahaul-Spiti received the season's heaviest snow, the official said.
 
Manali town, which saw a low of 2.2 degrees Celsius, experienced 40 mm of rain, the highest in the state. 
 
The state capital saw mild rains and recorded the minimum temperature at 7.3 degrees.
 
Keylong, which saw a low of minus 1.3 degrees Celsius, recorded 32 cm of snow, the state's highest. Kalpa, some 250 km from here, saw 4.2 cm of snow.
 
The majestic Rohtang Pass (13,050 feet), located 52 km from Manali, also received snow, according to reports.
 
Dharamsala town saw five mm of rain and recorded the minimum temperature at 11.8 degrees Celsius, while Dalhousie had 10 mm of rain with a low of 5.3 degrees.
 
IANS
 

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Snow on Himachal Pradesh hills

 
HP’s Keylong receives fresh snowfall
Temperatures across Himachal Pradesh on Friday dipped as high altitudes received mild spells of snow while others experienced rains.
 
The Met Office has forecast snow and rain across the state due to active western disturbance till Sunday.
 
The high hills in Kullu and Lahaul and Spiti districts have been experiencing light snowfall since early Friday, a Met official told IANS.
 
The skies over Shimla and nearby Kufri were overcast. There was possibility of rains later in the day. 
 
The picturesque tourist resort of Manali was at 5.8 degrees Celsius after mild rain. The Rohtang Pass, just 52 km from Manali, received snowfall.
 
The minimum temperature here was 10.5 degrees. Kalpa, 250 km from Shimla, and Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti district recorded the night temperature at three degrees and minus 1.1 degrees Celsius, respectively.
 
Lower hills of Dharamsala, Kangra, Palampur and Hamirpur saw rains.
 
IANS
 

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Manali-Leh highway closed after snowfall

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The highway that connects this Himachal Pradesh tourist resort with Leh in Jammu and Kashmir has been closed for traffic owing to heavy snow, officials said on Sunday.
 
"The traffic between Manali and Leh has been closed since Saturday," an official of the 38 Task Force of the General Reserve Engineering Force (GREF) told IANS.
 
GREF is a wing of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) that maintains crucial highways in the country.
 
The Manali-Leh highway winds its way through the Rohtang Pass (13,050 ft), Baralacha Pass (16,020 ft), Lachlungla Pass (16,620 ft) and Tanglangla (17,480 ft).
 
It is crucial to the movement of the armed forces and their supplies and wares to forward areas in Ladakh.
 
An official of the Himachal Road Transport Corporation said it would take a week to restart bus services between Manali via Keylong and Leh.
 
Meanwhile, the 13,050 feet high Rohtang Pass, the main tourist attraction and located 52 km from here, was closed.
 
Locals and tourists have been advised not to travel towards the higher reaches as chances of snow and rain are high till September 25, a government spokesperson told IANS here.
 
He said tourists and locals bound for the Rohtang Pass were not allowed to go beyond Marhi due to continuous snowfall that has resulted in snapping of road links leading to the pass.
 
Officials said state transport buses between Manali and Kaza have been temporarily suspended.
 
IANS
 

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Traffic restored on Chandigarh-Manali highway

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Traffic on the Chandigarh-Manali national highway, which remained blocked for over 12 hours following a massive landslide along the Beas river in Himachal Pradesh, was restored on Saturday, police said.
 
Incessant rains have also caused massive rockslides in Chamba district, blocking the Pathankot-Chamba highway.
 
Likewise, the National Highway 5 has been blocked near Chaura village in Shimla district after a truck got stuck as a portion of the road caved in.
 
Nearly 100 metres of the Chandigarh-Manali highway was badly damaged in the landslide that occurred near Aut in Mandi district on Friday night. It was repaired temporarily.
 
"Work is on to clear the debris on the Pathankot-Chamba and removal of the truck on the National Highway 5. They are likely to be reopened late in the evening," an official told IANS here.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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Landslide blocks Chandigarh-Manali highway

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Traffic on the Chandigarh-Manali national highway has been blocked following a massive landslide along the Beas river in Himachal Pradesh, police said on Saturday.
 
However, there were no reports of any casualties.
 
Nearly 100 metres of the national highway was badly damaged in the landslide that occurred near Aut in Mandi district on Friday night.
 
Hundreds of vehicles remained stranded on both sides of the affected area.
 
District authorities claimed that traffic was partially restored for small vehicles through diversions on alternate roads.
 
"JCB machines are trying to clear the debris and likely to restored by afternoon," said a district official.
 
The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and district authorities have deployed equipment to remove the debris.
 
IANS

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Rain claims 5 lives in Himachal; hundreds stranded as highways shut

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Heavy rains in Himachal Pradesh claimed five lives and hundreds remained stranded across the state after incessant rainfall triggered landslides and snapped road links, an official said on Monday.
 
Three persons were killed in Mandi district in landslide incidents, while a boy was washed away in the swollen Kaushalya river near Parwanoo in Solan district.
 
Reports said five persons were buried under a landslide near Chakla village in Kandaghat in Solan district. One of them reportedly died. Rescue work is still on.
 
After heavy overnight rains, most of the roads in the interiors of the state remained closed to traffic on Monday, stranding hundreds of travellers and commuters.
 
The Chandigarh-Manali National Highway-21 has been closed for vehicles near Mandi town, an official said. Likewise, traffic on the Chandigarh-Shimla National Highway-5 was hampered near Chakki Ka Mor in Solan district.
 
The Mandi-Pathankot, the Chamba-Pathankot and the Shimla-Nahan national highways were blocked by landslides.
 
Vehicular movement in Kinnaur district remained suspended since a large stretch of the Hindustan-Tibet Road has been under landslides at several points.
 
An official said the road network in the higher reaches of Kinnaur, Shimla, Chamba, Mandi, Kullu and Sirmaur districts was the worst affected and efforts were being made to reopen it.
 
As a precautionary measure, all schools and educational institutes in Shimla, Solan, Kullu, Hamirpur, Kangra, Kinnaur and Mandi districts were closed for the day.
 
According to the Met office here, moderate to heavy showers have occurred in most parts of the state since Sunday.
 
Paonta Sahib in Sirmaur district recorded the highest rainfall in the state at 239 mm, while it was 238 mm in Sujanpur Tira town in Hamirpur district. 
 
Nehri town in Mandi district recorded 235 mm in the past 24 hours, while Palampur town recorded 212 mm.
 
It was 172 mm in the state capital, 142 in Dharamsala town, 98 mm in Kasauli, 94 mm in Solan town and 57 mm in Dalhousie.
 
The weather office has forecast heavy rains across the state till Tuesday.
 
IANS
 

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Heavy rains in Himachal close highways; hundreds stranded

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After heavy overnight rains, most of the roads in the interiors of Himachal Pradesh remained closed to traffic on Monday, stranding hundreds of travellers and commuters.
 
The Chandigarh-Manali National Highway-21 has been closed for vehicles near Mandi town, an official said. Likewise, the Chandigarh-Shimla National Highway-5 was hampered near Jabli town in Solan district.
 
Vehicular movement in Kinnaur district remained suspended since a large stretch of the Hindustan-Tibet Road has been under landslides at several points.
 
Reports said five persons were buried under a landslide in Kandaghat area in Solan district. One of them reportedly died as rescue work was still on.
 
An official said the road network in the higher reaches of Kinnaur, Shimla, Chamba, Mandi, Kullu and Sirmaur districts was the worst affected and efforts were being made to reopen it.
 
As a precautionary measure, all schools and educational institutes in Shimla and Mandi districts have been closed for the day.
 
According to the Met office here, moderate to heavy showers have occurred in most parts of the state since Sunday.
 
Nehri town in Mandi district recorded the highest rainfall in the state at 235 mm. Dharamsala town recorded 110 mm rain in the past 24 hours, while it was 100 mm here in the state capital, 98 mm in Kasauli, 94 mm in Solan town and 57 mm in Dalhousie.
 
The weather office has forecast heavy rains across the state till Tuesday.
 
IANS
 

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Tackling plastic trash at Rohtang Pass an uphill task

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Tackling trash in the cold, rugged and rocky mountains of the Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas -- the origin of one of north India's major rivers, the Beas, and its tributaries -- is becoming an uphill task.

Mounts of plastic packets of eatables like potato chips, pet bottles and beer cans are threatening the highly fragile ecology of the Rohtang Pass -- a two-hour drive up from this tourist town -- as local authorities dump ecological concerns.

The entire area of the pass, a spot most people prefer to visit at an altitude of 13,050 feet and some 52 km from here, is almost bereft of human habitation.

It remains cut off from the rest of the country more than five months every year owing to heavy snowfall.

"It is really shocking to see these pet bottles and plastic wrappers of eatables lying along these rivulets, remarked Raunaq Bajwa, a tourist from New Delhi.

"Why is the local administration not imposing a blanket ban on carrying these non-biodegradable items to such highly sensitive zones," he asked while speaking to IANS, pointing to waste dumped haphazardly along the banks of the glacial-fed Beas river near Marhi, en route to Rohtang Pass from Manali.

His friend Dilawar Khan wanted to know why the government is not keeping the Himalayas free from litter.

"It seems Rohtang hills are fast becoming the world's highest garbage dump as one can see discarded clothes, food packets and heaps of beer cans and plastic bottles dumped here and there," he added.

The picturesque Rohtang Pass is a major attraction for both domestic and foreign tourists.

According to the state's Tourism Department, tourist spots in and around Manali have an influx of around 1.1 million visitors annually. Tourism is the key source of income for the locals.

"Cleaning up the hills once in a year is not the solution. The local administration has to find a permanent way of waste management," Lal Chand Thakur, a shopkeeper selling eatables at Marhi, said.

He said with the National Green Tribunal (NGT) restricting the entry of tourist vehicles to the Rohtang Pass, the influx of the tourists has massively reduced.

Only 1,200 taxis or private vehicle permits -- 800 petrol and the remaining diesel vehicles -- are issued online daily for the trip to Rohtang Pass.

On similar lines, octogenarian Thakur said, the NGT should also impose tougher penalties on litterbugs beyond Gulaba, which is on the way to the Rohtang Pass and is 26 km from Manali.

Another shopkeeper, Ghanshyam Negi, said the installation of portable toilets at Marhi is not a solution unless there are sewage treatment plants along with waste treatment facilities, which currently do not exist in the area.

The local administration has installed waste disposal and drop off points between Marhi and Rohtang Pass but visitors ignore them.

The NGT, in one of its orders, observed that providing public amenities and ensuring absolute cleanliness at Rohtang Pass and even en route is essential in the interest of the environment.

"To provide a clean and decent environment, every authority concerned must ensure absolute cleanliness and the tourists have to cultivate the habit of neither littering nor spoiling the beauty and environment of the glacier by throwing plastic and other waste," it said.

NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar told IANS last year, ahead of his retirement, that scientific studies clearly indicated that glaciers in the Rohtang Pass catchment were receding at a rate of one metre per year.

"Everyone going for a picnic carries coke, popcorn and beer bottles with them -- and then dumps these haphazardly there (at Rohtang Pass). There are plastic trash and human waste. Mule dung is polluting water and soil. This is the case before us," he had said.

A journal of the Asiatic Society says Lieutenants A. Broome and A. Cunningham trekked to the Rohtang Pass on July 7, 1839, to trace the sources of Punjab's rivers.

Environmentalists say the state should also launch a similar campaign in the Rohtang Pass like the Riverfront Cleaning Campaign that was launched on May 18.

The campaign, supported by the Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change and involving school students and a Territorial Army battalion, will cover three districts -- Mandi, Kullu and Bilaspur, from where the Beas river flows.

It will conclude on World Environment Day that falls on June 5.

India is this year host to the UN Environment-led global event, World Environment Day, and the 2018 theme is "Beat the Plastic Pollution".

IANS

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4 bodies found, 20 students from Hyderabad still missing in HP

 
Virbhadra Singh orders probe after students go missing
Search and rescue teams today found the bodies of four of the 24 students of an engineering college near Hyderabad who went missing and were feared drowned after water was suddenly released from the Larji hydro-electric project into the Beas river in Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh yesterday evening.
 
District officials in Mandi told NetIndian over the telephone that the search for the remaining missing 20 students had been suspended at nightfall and would be resumed at day-break tomorrow.
 
The students -- 18 boys and six girls -- were part of a  larger group of second year engineering students from the VNR Vignana College of Engineering and Technology near Hyderabad and were on a study tour in the area when the tragedy occurred.
 
The bodies of three girls and a boy were recovered this morning from the Pandoh dam, about 15 km downstream, and efforts were continuing to trace the others, they said.
 
A team from the Telangana government, led by state Home Minister Naini Narsimha Reddy and including police officials, was expected in Mandi later on Monday. The Director General of Police of Telangana and the Police Commissioner of Cyberabad were also in touch with senior police officials in Himachal Pradesh.
 
Various accounts suggested that the students were taking photographs and playing around on the rocks and in the shallow water when extra water was released from the dam suddenly around 7 pm yesterday.
 
According to officials, the dam authorities had issued the usual alerts and sounded sirens to downstream areas before releasing the water but the district administration has ordered an inquiry to establish the circumstances in which the mishap occurred.
 
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People on the banks of the river alerted the students to the sudden surge in water levels, but all of them were swept away before they could move to safety, the officials said.
 
Emergency teams were rushed to the spot and searched for the missing students with help of searchlights late into the night.
 
At daybreak today, the authorities intensified the search and rescue efforts by deploying rafters and divers even as scores of people scoured the riverside on both sides. Officials of the adjoining Kullu district also joined the rescue efforts.
 
The incident occurred at Thalot, around 40 km from Mandi. The Larji dam is located around two km upstream from there.
 
An official press release here said Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju would oversee the rescue and relief efforts and help the families of the victims. Among other things, steps are being taken to fly the parents of the missing students to Manali.
 
Union Minister of Human Resources Development Smriti Irani expressed grave concern and shock over the incident. She assured Himachal Pradesh Minister of Education G S Bali of all assistance and support required from the Centre.
 
She also spoke to a member of the faculty of the college, who was accompanying the students on the study trip to Himachal Pradesh and was present  at the site of the mishap when it happened. The principal of the college has been assured of all cooperation to cope with the tragedy.
 
"Our prayers are with the families in this hour of need," she added.
 
NNN
 
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Man accused of 1992 murder of Indian family in Dubai sentenced to death

A CBI court in Ahmedabad has convicted Ravjibhai Manubhai Pawar of the murder of his Indian employer and four other members of his family in Dubai in 1992 and sentenced him to death.

A press release from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said that its investigations had shown that Pawar, while working as a domestic servant in Dubai, had kileld Mr Ramesh K Sagar and four others of Mr Sagar's family on January 4, 1992.

He was also accused of rape and of stealing household articles, including clothes, ornaments and cash.

Pawar feld from Dubai on January 5 and came to India. On the basis of an Interpol alert, he was nabbed on January 10 by the Gujarat police and a first information report (FIR)was registered.

Since the accused was an Indian national and the offence took place outside India, the case was entrusted to the CBI. The Dubai Police had also registered an FIR and collected evidence, which was used by the CBI during investigation and trial of the case, the release said.

The chargesheet was filed on January 23, 1992 in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Chikhli. The trial court found him guilty and convicted him.

The case was registered by the CBI, Ahmedabad (now Gandhinagar) Branch on April 27, 1992 on the basis of the request and consent of the Government of Gujarat for futher investigation of the case filed at the Chikhli Police Station, the release added.

NNN

Rains lash parts of Himachal Pradesh, snowfall in upper reaches


Rains lashed many parts of Himachal Pradesh during the last 24 hours while higher reaches of Kullu and Kangra received a light spell of snowfall.


Mehre received 5 mm rainfall, Jhungi and Karsog of Mandi 4 mm each, Shimla 3.6 mm, and Sunni Bhajji of this district, Sujanpur Tira of Hamirpur and Seobagh of Kullu 2 mm each.


Keylong was the coldest place in the state with the minimum temperature recorded at minus 0.1 degrees Celsius followed by Kalpa in Kinnuar two degrees, Bhuntar 6.6 degrees, Solan and Sundernagar of Mandi 8.8 degrees each, Shimla and Mandi 9 degrees each, Palampur of Kangra 11.5 degrees, Dharamshala 12.3 degrees, Una 13 degrees and Nahan 19 degrees respectively.


The Met office has forecast mainly dry weather in the state during next 24 hours.


NNN

Tourist resorts in HP experience fresh snowfall


Most tourist resorts in Himachal Pradesh experienced a fresh spell of snowfall early this morning while intermittent rains lashed low-lying areas in the state.


A Met official here said Shimla witnessed a light spell of snowfall which was recorded at 3.2 cm. Kufri and Narkanda had five and seven cm of snowfall, respectively. Manali recorded 20 cm snowfall. The high reaches of Kinnaur also reported a heavy spell of snowfall at 16 cm.


According to a report from Lahaul and Spiti districts, 11 cm of snowfall was recorded in Keylong town while it was 30-40 cm in the higher reaches of Koksar and Rohtang Pass districts.


He said telephone communication with some villages around Koksar district could not be established due the heavy snowfall for the past two weeks.


Snowfall was also experienced in higher reaches of Kullu, Kinnuar, Chamba, Kangra, Mandi and Sirmour districts.


The official said the low-lying areas in the state were lashed by intermittent rains. The weather later turned sunny and partly cloudy.


Saloni in Chamba and Kumarsain of Shimla recorded 10 mm rainfall each, Seobagh & Banjar of Kullu 6 mm each, Baijanath of Kangra, Jogindernagar of Mandi & Jubbarhatti of Shimla 5 mm each, Theog of Shimla & Nurpur of Kangra 3 mm each.


The mercury fell to 0.8 degree Celsius in this capital town. Keylong was the coldest with minus 7.4 degrees and Kalpa minus 3 degrees, Dharamshala 4.3 degrees, Bhuntar of Kullu and Solan were at 5.2 degrees each, Palampur in Kangra 5.5 degrees and Sundernagar 5.9 degrees, Mandi 6.4 degrees and Una 7.9 degrees respectively.


NNN

Snowfall in high reaches of HP, air traffic affected


Snowfall and incessant rain, continuing since last night, intensified the cold conditions in Himachal Pradesh today, affecting flight schedule and normal life here.


Reports coming from Manali said it had another spell of snow since early morning, registering four cm snowfall in the town, while Mardi, Solangnalah and Jalorijot reported 10-15 cm snow.


Keylong of Lahaul Spiti received 20 cm snowfall, followed by Kalpa in Kinnaur district 10 cm, Chitkual 16 cm and Recong-Peo two cm. High reaches of the Rohtang Pass and Koksar villages recorded two-and-half feet thick layer of snow.


Hatu peak near tourist resort Narkanda had seven cm snowfall, while downstream area of Kufri was lashed with incessant rainfall continuing since overnight.


According to Kingfisher Airlines Airport Manager Shashi Sharma, the flight scheduled to Shimla and Kullu had been cancelled following inclement weather and overcast sky.


Heavy snowfall poured in Pangi subdivision of Chamba, mounting to one-and-half feet, followed by Baragarh area of Churah sub-division at three to four cm. High reaches of Tissa and Bharmour also reported snowfall as was the case with Dhauladhar ranges of Kangra district.


The incessant rainfall also occurred in Sirmour, Solan, Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Una and Mandi district.


The Met department warned that owing to activation of western disturbances in the Western Himalayas, heavy rain or snow might occur at isolated places in the state.


NNN

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