DEHRADUN: A swollen Asan river claimed the life of a man in Dehradun on Wednesday as heavy rains pounded most parts of Uttarakhand and forced authorities to close educational institutions in Chamoli and Rudraprayag.
District disaster management officer Deepshikha Rawat said the victim, Kaalu of Sabhawala, jumped into the Asan to save his buffaloes that had got caught in the fast current. A joint team of local administration, police and disaster response force unit fished him out at a place nearly 2 km away near the Jhajra bridge but the man did not survive, the police said.
Though the meteorological department had predicted heavy rains, students had a terrible time as several schools were open in the capital. Rain water entered Asian School and Himalayan School. Several houses in the low-lying areas were inundated. Locals were left fuming as BJP legislators Umesh Sharma and Khajan Das didn’t turn up to visit the affected sites. “We were hopeful that our representatives will help us but all our hopes went down the drain,” Mangesh, a local resident, said.
Dehradun district magistrate SA Murugesan ordered closure of schools on Thursday.
At least 10 roads in the district were blocked due to rainfall and work on opening them was going on at the time of filing this report. Landslides were reported from hilly areas including in Chakrata and in Mussoorie. Reports of agricultural land being washed away due to overflowing streams came in from Ghorimaafi, Sahabnagar, Rishikesh and some villages in Chakrata tehsil.
‘Close schools, if rivers and rivulets are overflowing’
The education directorate decided that schools will remain close whenever nearby streams and rivulets are over overflowing to prevent any untoward incident
In his letter, DG education Alok Shekhar advised officials that in many places, students have to cross rivers and rivulets to reach schools. Sometimes, they are over flowing with strong currents due to heavy rain. In such a situation, schools should declare holidays and students not turning up for classes shouldn’t be marked absent, he ordered. Parents should be advised not to send children to schools in such situations.
Situation worsens in Pithoragarh, Champawat dists
Several roads, including the Tanakpur Champawat highway, remained closed in Pithoragarh district where over 78 mm of rainfall was recorded in the last 24 hours.
According to the disaster management office, over 63 National Disaster Response Force personnel were deployed at sensitive places to tackle any situation arising from natural calamities. “We have posted 35 NDRF personnel at ITBP Mirthi to tackle the situation in sensitive sub-divisions of Didihat, Munsiyari and Dharchula,” district disaster management officer S Rana said.
In Champawat district, the administration ordered closure of schools for the next two days following weather forecasts of incessant rains in the next 48 hours. “The orders took time to be communicated due to lack of communication facilities in remote parts of the district,” said CS Joshi, a villager in Champawat .
The eight batch of Kailash Mansarovar pilgrims was briefed by ITBP at Didihat was briefed about steps to be taken while crossing rivulets and rivers on the trek route to Gunji that begins from Sirkha camp today.
Seven roads, including the Garjiya Betalghat route, were closed. Small landslides occurred in Nainital and Bhimtal city, posing danger to homes. Four homes came in the spate of landslides in Hiragarh village on the Haldwani Hedakhan route.
Swelled rivulets halt traffic
In Nainital district, Methi Shah Nullah that lies near Haldwani saw increased flow of water that hampered traffic. Vehicles had to wait at the ends of the nullah for the water level to come down. There are other points in the Nainital district which faced the same problem. The Sher Nullah on way to Chorgalia saw massive flow of water and obstruction to traffic.
The route from Haldwani to Sitarganj has Surya Nullah which is getting water from the nearby river.
Public Works Department executive engineer Ranjeet Rawat said that a bridge had been sanctioned for the Methi Shah nullah and all the approvals were taken. “We are in talks with firms for making the design of the bridge and also the other technical specifications. After this, we will start construction of the bridge.”
With inputs from Neha Pant, Mohan Rajput, Abhinav Madhwal BD Kasniyal