NEW DELHI: Incessant showers triggered flash floods and landslides in the hill states of northern India with at least eight people killed on Monday in rain-related incidents in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana.
In the wake of heavy rains, a 'red alert' was issued in Punjab where educational institutes have been ordered to remain closed on Tuesday. Schools have been closed in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir and in most places of Himachal Pradesh.
Heavy rains led to landslides which blocked the roads to Badrinath, Kedarnath and Yamunotri, affecting the Chardham Yatra, while traffic snarled in the national capital due to waterlogging following heavy rains.
The Punjab government has asked district authorities to maintain a vigil to avert any untoward situation due to heavy rains, an official said.
Punjab has been witnessing widespread rain for the last two days and the downpour continued Monday, prompting state authorities to review preparations to tackle flood-like situations.
Incessant rains in Punjab and Haryana could cause damage to Kharif crops and dip in their yield, farm experts said.
In Haryana's Ambala, a 45-year-old man died when the roof of his home collapsed due to heavy rains, police said.
Torrential rains triggered flash floods in Himachal Pradesh, sweeping away a man and a girl in Kangra and Kullu districts, respectively. A "high alert" has been sounded for Kullu district.
Several houses were also swept away in flash floods as the Beas is flowing at a dangerous level, HP Forest Minister Govind Singh Thakur said, cautioning people against going near rivers and nullahs.
An Indian Air Force team had rescued, with the help of a chopper, 21 people stranded due to flash floods at Dobi in Kullu district in the last 48 hours.
BJP MP from Hamirpur Anurag Thakur said, "So far, 126 roads have been affected by landslides triggered by rains and news of the loss of lives are too pouring in from many places."
People residing in low-lying areas, especially in Kangra, Chamba, Kullu and Mandi districts, are being evacuated, officials said.
In Chamba, the Ravi river is still flowing at a dangerous level and people are being evacuated from low-lying areas by the administration since Sunday, Superintendent of Police Monica Bhutunguru said.
Issuing a flood warning, the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) said excess water from the Pong Dam would be released due to high-pattern inflows in the Pong reservoir due to heavy rain in catchment areas.
In Uttarakhand, most of the places including state capital Dehradun received showers with around 45 rural roads blocked in these districts, the state emergency operation centre said.
Heavy rains lashed several parts of the national capital, causing waterlogging and traffic snarls on major intersections in the city.
In Jammu and Kashmir, five members of a family, including three minors, were killed Monday when their house was buried under debris after a landslide in the Doda district, while 29 people stranded in Kathua district after flash floods were rescued.
Doda and other parts of Jammu region have been lashed by incessant rain over the past two days.
"A total of 29 persons, including six women and 10 children, were rescued from various flood-hit areas of Kathua district during overnight operations," a police officer said.
With the improvement in the weather, authorities Monday morning opened the 270-km Jammu-Srinagar national highway for traffic.
Multiple landslides and shooting stones from a hillock along the highway between Ramban and Udhampur districts had blocked the arterial road since Sunday morning.
According to the Meteorological department, heavy to very heavy rain is expected at isolated places in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, western Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh.