The death toll in rain-hit Himachal Pradesh has tragically risen to 74, with the discovery of another body in the debris of a Shiva temple. The state has been grappling with heavy rains and landslides, causing major disruptions and casualties. Among the deaths, 21 were due to significant landslides in areas like Shimla, including the Shiva temple in Summer Hill, Fagli, and Krishnanagar. There are also ongoing concerns about eight individuals potentially still buried beneath the wreckage of the temple.
In one of the landslides that occurred in Shimla’s Summer Hill, the body of P. L. Sharma, the head of the Mathematics department at Himachal Pradesh University, was recovered. Additionally, two more rain-related deaths were reported in Chamba district, bringing the four-day death toll to 74.
While the intensity of the rain has lessened in some areas over the past three days, the impact has been substantial. Since the onset of the monsoon on June 24, a total of 217 lives have been lost due to rain-related incidents in Himachal Pradesh.
Rescue operations and relief efforts are in full swing, with the Indian Army, Air Force, and other personnel working tirelessly to evacuate affected individuals. Around 309 people were evacuated from flood-affected areas in Kangra district’s Fatehpur and Pong Dam in Indora. In total, 2,074 individuals have been rescued in the past three days.
Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu visited the flood-affected regions to provide reassurance and support to the affected residents. The monsoon’s impact on the state’s infrastructure has resulted in significant losses, estimated at around 7,500 crore. As a response, schools in Shimla city remained closed, and hundreds of roads remained blocked. Moreover, transformers and water supply schemes have been disrupted, further hampering normal life.
Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu acknowledged that the task of rebuilding the severely impacted infrastructure might take up to a year. He estimated the combined losses from recent heavy rain episodes to be around ₹10,000 crore. The government is determined to expedite the restoration process, aiming to fully rebuild the infrastructure within a year. The central government has already approved ₹2,643 crore for upgrading 254 rural roads this fiscal year through the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana.
To facilitate relief measures, the state government has eased spending conditions for the MLA local area development fund, allowing MLAs to allocate funds for projects like constructing retaining walls and channelizing waterways.