Mandi – The Chandigarh-Manali National Highway is again under threat as torrential monsoon rains have caused significant damage near the Pandoh Dam in Mandi district. The highway, restored at a staggering cost of approximately 40 crores after being devastated in the last rainy season, shows alarming signs of deterioration.

Huge cracks have started to appear on the highway near the Pandoh Dam, causing sections of the road to sink. Local residents, aware of the danger, have marked the cracked areas with stones to warn drivers. Despite these efforts, the highway remains open to traffic for now. However, the appearance of these cracks has reignited concerns about the quality and durability of the recent reconstruction work.

The highway’s previous collapse led to an eight-month-long restoration project, during which traffic was rerouted through an alternative path near Pandoh Dam. The possibility of another collapse has left locals and authorities worried about the potential need for another extensive and disruptive detour.

Adding to the region’s woes, the monsoon rains have caused widespread devastation in Mandi district. In the Anah village, located in the Seraj assembly constituency, heavy rains have caused the local drain to overflow, resulting in significant debris accumulation. Cars and bikes have been buried, and a house has suffered considerable damage. Other homes in the vicinity are also at risk, prompting residents to take matters into their own hands to clear the rubble and protect their properties.

The impact of the heavy rains is not limited to Mandi. Shimla and other parts of upper Himachal Pradesh have been experiencing relentless downpours since last night. The city of Shimla has been enveloped in thick fog for the past two days, drastically reducing visibility and making driving conditions hazardous. Drivers have been forced to use headlights during the day, posing additional challenges for both motorists and pedestrians.

Local administrations are on high alert, closely monitoring the situation and working to provide relief and support to affected areas. With the inclement weather expected to persist, residents are being urged to remain vigilant and take necessary precautions to ensure their safety.

The recent monsoon rains have exposed critical vulnerabilities in the region’s infrastructure and underscored the urgent need for improved disaster preparedness and response strategies. As discussions about the quality of the construction work on the highway and dam continue, the people of Himachal Pradesh brace for more challenges ahead.