Himachal: Kinnaur cut off from Shimla after NH-5 blocked due to landslide | spcilvly

Kinnaur tribal district was cut off from the state capital Shimla following a massive landslide on the Hindustan-Tibet Highway or National Highway 5 at Chaura, officials said on Saturday.

The mouth of the natural tunnel at Chaura on the Hindustan-Tibet highway or national highway number 5 is blocked by rocks after the landslide that occurred in Kinnaur district on Saturday.  (HT Photo)
The mouth of the natural tunnel at Chaura on the Hindustan-Tibet highway or national highway number 5 is blocked by rocks after the landslide that occurred in Kinnaur district on Saturday. (HT Photo)

Huge rocks and debris fell on the road near the natural tunnel at the entrance of Kinnaur district on Friday night, hampering even the movement of pedestrians.

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Since the apple season is not yet over in the higher hills, a large number of vehicles, including trucks, are stranded on both sides of the blockade.

Officials said Saturday that restoration work is in full swing and rocks are being removed. Heavy machinery has been deployed to drill through the hard rock and make a passage for stranded vehicles.

A view of the natural tunnel near Chaura in Kinnaur district, which was blocked due to the landslide on NH-5.  (HT Photo)
A view of the natural tunnel near Chaura in Kinnaur district, which was blocked due to the landslide on NH-5. (HT Photo)

NH-5 was blocked near Nugalsari, a few kilometers before Chaura, following a landslide on September 7. The road took 10 days to open.

Frequent landslides on this road in an ecologically fragile area have become a nightmare for local people and fruit growers, particularly apple growers, who want a lasting solution.

Kinnaur is known for its high-quality juicy apples and transportation from the lower areas of the district begins in August, while apples from the higher areas continue to reach the market until the end of November. Apple production has decreased this year due to climate changes.

Around 30 lakh boxes are expected in 2023 in Kinnaur, compared to 40-42 lakh boxes in 2022, said deputy director of horticulture (Kinnaur) Ajay Kumar Dhiman.

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