Heavy snow in Himachal, tourists stuck

Shimla, Jan 8 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh’s picturesque Dalhousie and Chamba towns remained cut off from the rest of the country for the second day Sunday, police said. Over 100 tourists are stuck in these towns as heavy snowfall has snapped all major road links.

Two people lost their lives in Chamba district when they were hit by lightning.

‘The entire Chamba district has been experiencing moderate to heavy snowfall since Saturday. The road link to Dalhousie and Chamba remained cut off to heavy snowfall near Banikhet,’ Superintendent of Police Madhu Sudan told IANS over phone.

Banikhet is located on the national highway that connects Punjab’s Pathankot town with Chamba.

Sudan said the road link to Chamba and Dalhousie could be restored Monday. ‘All the tourists in Dalhousie and Chamba are safe and staying in hotels,’ Sudan said.

Two locals were killed due to lightning near Banikhet.

Hills overlooking the picturesque tourist resort of Manali in Kullu district have been experiencing heavy snow.

The Rohtang Pass (13,050 feet) – located on the Manali-Leh highway – experienced heavy snowfall, the weather office here said.

Most of the popular hill destinations in the state have been witnessing light to moderate snow, Meteorological Office director Manmohan Singh said.

Shimla and its nearby tourist spots experienced snow again Sunday. The minimum temperature recorded in this hill station was 0 degree Celsius, whereas the maximum was 5 degrees.

Shimla recorded 13.3 cm of snow till early Sunday. Nearby tourist spots like Kufri, Fagu and Narkanda experienced moderate snowfall.

Manali, which recorded a low of minus 1.6 degrees Celsius, saw 18 cm of snow, while Dalhousie recorded 100 cm of snow, Chamba 30 cm and Kalpa in Kinnaur district 8.8 cm.

The Met department’s forecast said the western disturbances – storm systems originating from Caspian Sea in central Asia and moving across the Afghanistan-Pakistan region – have started withdrawing from the state.