In just a fortnight’s time, it was the second cloudburst that hits Kullu – Manali region in early morning hours of Saturday morning. The National Highway – 21 connecting Kullu – Manali to Chandigarh and further to Delhi was uprooted at many places due to flash floods thereby disrupting the vehicular movements for a long time and causing severe damage to the crops in the Kullu Valley. The disruption of vehicular movement lasted for more than 8 hrs before all the debris from the highway was cleared and highway was made functional again. Meanwhile, all the food and milk supplies to Kullu and Manali region were delayed till late afternoon when finally the highway was restored for one way movement by PWD staff.The flash flood took place at Sambal Nallah due to a cloudburst in the Bali Dhar forest range, near Pandoh in Mandi district.
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Pandoh (Mandi), August 6, 2011
Maize crop on 17 bighas of land, seven cows and goats, four water flour mills (gharaats), two foot bridges and IPH water supply line were washed away in the flash flood in the Sambal Nullah triggered by the cloudburst in the Bali Dhar forest range uphill at around 6.15 am today.
Two tourist vehicles carrying over 15 passengers had a providential escape at the Jagar Nullah, about 5 km from Sambal, after their vehicles were caught up in the flowing debris. But they were rescued by the PWD staff.
The flash flood also damaged the approach of the culverts on the Sambal Nullah and blocked the water passage pumping huge boulders, logs of wood and debris that flowed on the 200-m-long stretch of the highway. That in turn blocked the traffic on both sides of the highway for eight hours, stranding passengers there since morning. Milk and vegetable supplies to Kullu and Manali were delayed till 2 pm when the PWD restored the highway for the movement of one-way traffic. The traffic remained stranded for 5 km on the both sides of the highway for eight hours.
The pradhan of Sambal panchayat said it looked like a tsunami as boulders and flood water flowed down on the highway. “We woke up children and others as the flood headed towards both sides of the highway and ran to safer places,” he narrated.
The washing away of foot bridges has hit the movement of villagers across the Sambal Nullah upstream. The commuters had a harrowing time as their further journey was sabotaged.
The villagers said they had never heard of a flood in this nullah. It rained from 1 am this morning and continued till 6.30 am. The flash flood created a 60-m-wide gorge deshaping the landscape in about 3-km-long flash flood-hit zone right from the Bali Dhar range till where it meets the Beas.
Between Mandi and Pandoh, the smaller rivulets were also in spate littering boulders here and there on the highway.
Executive Engineer, National Highway, Jatinder Sharma said the road and culverts in Sambal and Jagar Nullahs worth Rs 2 crore had been damaged by the flash flood. The debris has been cleared to make one way movement for traffic
There was another cloudburst near Manali at Dhundi two weeks back which took more than 4 lives and left few missing. Read complete story here: Cloudburst Hits Manali | Two died and many missing