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Himachal Pradesh: 7 dead, 4 injured as car rolls down near Chamba border after landslide

Image Source : FILE Himachal Pradesh: 7 dead, 4 injured as car rolls down near Chamba border after landslide

Himachal Pradesh: At least 7 people were killed while 4 others were injured when a vehicle fell into the Siul River after a landslide hit the road they were travelling on in Chamba district on Friday, officials said. The deceased include six police personnel who were from the 2nd Indian Reserve Battalion posted at the Chamba Border. They have been identified as Rakesh Gora, Praveen Tondon, Kamaljeet, Sachin, Abhishek and Lakshay Kumar, while the seventh deceased is Chandru Ram, a local resident, the police said.

Meanwhile, the opposition BJP demanded a high-level inquiry into the accident and slammed the government for reopening the road stretch despite recurring landslides in the area. The vehicle carrying 11 persons was on its way from Bairagarh to Tissa when the accident took place near the Tarwai Bridge in the Churah area of Chamba district, the police said. Preliminary investigation suggested that a large boulder hit the vehicle from the top, due to which it got imbalanced and skidded into the river, they added.

Following the incident, DGP Sanjay Kundu has constituted a Board of Inquiry to be led by DIG North Abhishek Dullar, comprising Chamba SP Abhishek Yadav and Khushal Sharma, Commandant IRB Sakoh, officials said. The board has been directed to find out the actual cause of the accident and elaborate upon the necessary steps and suggestions to mitigate such incidents in future, they added. Expressing grief over the incident, Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu directed the district authorities to provide immediate ex-gratia to the next of kin of the deceased and the best treatment for the injured persons.

Meanwhile, BJP MLA from Churah, Hans Raj, said that they got this road closed with great effort as it was not safe to travel but the current government opened the road again despite being informed of the recurring landslides in this area. Raj, who is also the party’s state vice-president, demanded a high-level inquiry into the accident, according to a statement issued here. He said that strict action should be taken against the PWD officer, whose negligence cost so many lives.

Since the onset of monsoon in the hill state on June 24 till August 11, the death toll due to rain-related incidents and road accidents has reached 252, of which 41 persons died in 87 landslides and 107 died in road accidents, according to the state emergency operation centre. Over 300 roads in the state are closed for vehicular traffic, the centre said. Meanwhile, rescue teams on Friday recovered three bodies of the members of a family who were trapped under the debris of a house that collapsed after water gushed into a village in Sirmaur district following a cloudburst on Wednesday night, said Sirmaur Deputy Commissioner Sumit Khimta.

The cloudburst had occurred in Malagi Dadiyat village of Paonta Sahib and water entered several houses. One of these houses collapsed and five members of a family were feared trapped under its debris. Bodies of two of them were recovered on Thursday, the DC said. The deceased have been identified as Kuldeep Singh, his wife Jeeto Devi, daughter-in-law Rajni Devi, and grandchildren Deepika and Nitish, he added. A section of the National Highway-707 which connects Paonta Sahib with Shallai got blocked after the cloudburst and continues to remain closed. The MeT office has sounded a yellow warning of heavy rains on August 12 and 13 and predicted a wet spell in the state till August 17 and cautioned of landslides, flash floods, mudslides and an increase in water flow in rivers and canals.

(With inputs from PTI)

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