Urni Kinnaur

Urni landslide (Kinnaur): 2 bridges worth Rs. 4 crore under threat after boulders block Sutlej flow

SHIMLA- Last week, never ending landslides in ecologically fragile Urni in Kinnuar district of Himachal Pradesh again led to a critical situation. Two bridges worth Rs. 4 crores on NH-5 near Urni are under threat after a landslide blocked flow of River Sutlej leading to formation of an artificial lake. Road and bridges are submerged in this lake. Falling boulders and debris from mountain have choked the narrow passage. District administration is struggling from past six days to break-down obstruction and re-open the route. People are forced to use alternative routes, which are not proving to be adequate for public. Along with blasting, the district administration has tried to drain the water collected in the lake using machines. But admin remained unsuccessful, and now increasing water-level in River Sutlej is haunting it.

Government had requested help from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), but did not receive any reply to it.Without help from NDRF and Army, the district administration has engaged five Nepali labourers who are trying to remove the debris, risking their own lives.

Himachal Pradesh deputy speaker and Kinnaur MLA Jagat Singh Negi said that NDRF was requested to provide help six days back, but it hasn’t responded yet.

We had also requested the Army to clear the debris from the river to ensure smooth flow of water, but they too have not come forward for help,

he added.

Negi said for the last two days, five labourers are trying to open the blockade by removing the debris by blasting.

Accumulation of water in Satluj could flood the areas downstream in case of sudden breach, but these five labourers have succeeded in partially opening the blockade,

he added.

As the monsoon has already arrived in Himachal Pradesh, heavy rainfall in the high hills can result into heavy flow of water in the river. There is fear of flood too as the Satluj river is swelling in Urni, said Negi.

He said while the efforts are on to create a breach at the blocked point, the level of bridge too is being raised by five to six feet to prevent it from damage. He said that traffic has been diverted for the time being.

He said along with five labourers, Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) regional manager Devinder Negi too has been working on the site risking his life.

Nobody was ready to take labourers to the site, where manual blasting was needed to remove the debris. Seeing this, Devinder Negi came forward to operate the boat to take the labourers to the site where boulders are constantly falling,

he added.

He said efforts of five labourers have shown results as the flow of water has increased from the blocked point. He said these labourers would be honoured for showing exemplary courage under adverse situation.

File Photo: Manshi Asher

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