Landslide on NH 5: Residents of Kinnaur and Spiti facing challenges
Shimla, Sept 11
A colossal landslide at Nigulsari in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh on September 8, has severed a vital lifeline for the residents of district Kinnaur and Kaza in Lahaul & Spiti, leaving them grappling under the challenge with essential supply shortages. Though the authorities are doing their best to keep life normal, but NH 5 the main road connecting these areas to the outside world, remains blocked, and is causing disruption in the daily life of the local population.
The landslide is making it challenging for residents to access basic necessities like milk, bread, and vegetables. Compounding the issue is the fact that the apple and pea season has already begun in the lower altitude areas of these districts, further exacerbating the impact of this natural disaster.
To address the situation, traffic has been rerouted through NH 505, which runs via Kaza to Manali. However, this alternative route is considerably longer, particularly for Kinnaur residents, making it an arduous journey.
Mamta Negi, DPRO Kinnaur, explained that essential supplies such as fuel and diesel are reaching Kinnaur via the Kaza route (NH 505). She expressed hope that LPG supply would also reach the district by today evening, with a manual trans-shipment process being undertaken through the landslide-affected area in Nigulsari.
Horticulture produce, such as apples, has been impacted, with around 600 boxes of apples transported via Kaza from Tapri APMC, she added. Peas are being transshipped in utility vehicles.’ Meanwhile, farmers have decided to suspend picking and harvesting until the road is restored, with growers currently selling their produce in the Tapri vegetable and fruit market.
Talking about Spiti and especially areas like Nako, Tabo, Pooh, which are closer to Kaza, Lara Tsering of Kaza informed that supplies have been affected as lot of locals are suffering from shortage of LPG supply.
Angdui, another local resident of Kaza informed that even diesel shortage is increasing by every passing day, as supply is being rationed in lack of fresh so far.
Fuel trucks are now being transported through a longer route via Manali, Koksar, and, causing delays in supply distribution.
A Kinnaur farmer expressed concerns about increased transportation costs if the road is not restored promptly. The current alternative route through Kaza to Gramphoo via Manali adds approximately 200 kilometers to the journey, leading to higher expenses. The distance from Nako to Chandigarh via NH 5 (through Rampur) is around 425 kilometers. Whereas the similar distance via Kaza through to Manali and beyond is around 625 kilometers.” Needless to state that the additional 200 kilometres will cost additional, they stated.
In addition to the extended distance, road conditions on NH 505, particularly between Losar and Gramphoo, are far from ideal. The need to traverse Kunzum Pass, situated at an altitude of 14,981 feet, adds to the transportation challenges. While efforts are underway to widen the road and restore normalcy, local residents, especially those in areas near Kaza and Kinnaur, prefer the NH 5 route due to these difficulties.
A day after the massive landslide, Agriculture Minister and MLA from Kinnaur, Jagat Singh Negi, visited the affected site. Recognizing the potential challenges faced by farmers, he had directed authorities to lay down a temporary span and arrange for the transshipment of produce.
One power span would be commissioned by this evening and another power span is also being installed at Nigulsari shortly,” informed DPRO Kinnaur. While authorities are working tirelessly to address the situation, more concerted efforts are needed to restore normalcy in the region.
As the situation unfolds, residents of Kinnaur and Lahaul & Spiti remain hopeful for a swift resolution to their supply woes, relying on the dedicated efforts of authorities to reopen NH 5.
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