Landslide halts Manali traffic

A massive landslide this morning on the Chandigarh-Manali national highway 21 in Mandi district of  Himachal Pradesh disrupted traffic on the busy highway throughout Monday. 

Commuters on the stretch had a narrow escape as a huge part of the brittle mountain suddenly collapsed and came crumbling down on the road. No loss of life has been reported since vehicular traffic on either side slowed down just when debris and small rocks started to fall. 

The landslide occurred near Dwada in Mandi. Authorities said they hope to clear the landslide by the Monday night, if work is not stalled by more landslides. The road stretch where the landslide took place runs along the mountain on one side and the Bear river on the other. 

The impact of the landslide was such that it filled a 100-metre stretch on the road with thick dust clouds that moved fast, ramming into vehicles that were parked along the roadside. Many commuters caught the entire action on camera. Onlookers ran in panic as the debris-laden dust cloud swept past everything and threatened to damage bystanders. 

JCB and bulldozers were pressed into action while the traffic from Manali and to Chandigarh and Delhi from the uphill side was diverted to longer routes from Bajaura area of Kullu district via Kamand-Kantindi-Mandi road. Authorities are examining the reasons for the landslide. Sources said, some construction work near the site could possibly have triggered the landslide. 

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