By Our Staff Reporter
Dehradun, 20 May: As rain continued to lash Uttarakhand, reports of landslides, cloudbursts and flooding have been received from across the state. These unseasonal rains are considered to be an impact of the Cyclone Tauktae, which hit western India two days ago. A cloudburst led to the death of four persons in Bijnad Khad of Quasi area in Jaunsar Bawar area of Chakrata region in Dehradun district. So far, 3 bodies have been recovered from the site of the incident.
According to the information received this morning, Munna, a resident of Kolha village, was swept away by rain along with his two children by the torrential rains that followed the cloudburst. The dead bodies were recovered from the debris during a rescue mission launched later in the day by the State Disaster Relief Force (SDRF). Some cattle and other domestic animals are also reported to have been swept away.
Meanwhile, the Lambagad Nullah was buried under debris that had flowed down due to landslides along the Badrinath Highway. The highway was still closed till reports last came in although rescue operations were underway.
At the same time, two houses crumbled due to rain in Kumaon division, in which two people died and two were injured. Several highways have closed down for traffic in the state due to landslides and efforts were underway to open them at the earliest. While landslides were reported in the hills due to excessive rains, flooding and waterlogging was reported in the plains, especially in Haridwar, where a Covid Care Centre was also reportedly flooded due to continuous rain. The water level in most rivers had risen significantly in the state over the past 24 hours. The Gaula River was flowing near the danger mark as per the reports received.
Landslides along the Gangotri Highway, Mussoorie Galogi Dhar-Dehradun Road, Rishikesh-Badrinath National Highway and Jeolikot Veerabhatti Bridge in Nainital district led to the closure of the highway. The Bhawali-Almora National Highway also was closed near Kainchi Dham due to landslide.
As soon as information was received from several places in Uttarakhand about the heavy rains and landslides, Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat called the District Magistrates concerned and directed them to provide immediate assistance to the affected people and ensure proper treatment of the injured and food and lodging arrangements for those rendered homeless. Along with this, officers were also instructed to provide immediate permissible assistance to the affected persons while assessing the loss. He also directed the District Magistrates to assess the damage done to the crops and provide farmers prompt compensation.
Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat said that the state government was engaged in providing necessary relief to the people affected by landslides and teams of officials were also engaged in operations to clear the roads of the debris and open them for the traffic at the earliest. The CM added that soon after receiving the information about the damage caused by excessive rains at various places, the revenue police, police, administration and SDRF teams reached the spot and got involved in relief and rescue operations.
BJP leader and Vikasnagar MLA Munna Singh Chauhan has expressed grief over the incident in Jaunsar Bawar. He said that he was deeply saddened by the loss of precious lives due to the cloud burst in Chakrata and had asked the local administration to provide relief immediately to the affected persons.