Unprecedented rain across North India caused widespread damage, with Himachal Pradesh emerging as the worst-hit State. Devastating visuals of collapsing bridges and flash floods ravaging parts of the State emerged from the region that recorded its heaviest rainfall in several decades.

Incessant rain caused waterlogging and flooding in Delhi, while water levels rose alarmingly in rivers across Punjab and Haryana. Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister of Delhi, said 15 per cent of the total rainfall for the monsoon season fell in 12 hours. “As per our calculations, it seems that by tomorrow morning, the water level of the river Yamuna will cross the danger mark,” Atishi Marlena, Delhi’s Public Works Department Minister, said.

₹3,000 crore loss

In Himachal, an alert was sounded by the State administration to stay away from river fronts and avoid travelling, with Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu saying that the State has not witnessed such “widespread heavy rain” in the past 50 years and estimated a loss of ₹3,000 crore so far.

About 17 people have died in rain-related incidents in the State for the past two days, said the CM, adding that efforts are afoot to rescue tourists stuck in different places. He said bridges were broken in Baddi, Kullu, and Una, and the Largi power project in Kullu was submerged. All major hotels received cancellations as devastating videos of flash floods, especially in Kullu and Manali, surfaced on social media.

PP Khanna, Board member of industry body FAITH, said, “An estimated 25,000 tourists were in the State during the recent downpour. But because of timely forecasts about heavy rains, people were asked not to step out of the hotels. Besides, those camping were also moved to safe zones. The general advisory is not to travel to Himachal for the next few days. There are issues related to booking cancellations and refunds, and we are trying to look into this as an industry body.”

The State’s largest industrial area, the Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh industrial region, came to a grinding halt.

‘Himachal in crisis’

Gagan Kapoor, Chairman, CII Himachal State Council, told businessline, “The situation is very bad, and Himachal is in a crisis at the moment. National Highways have been impacted, and several bridges have collapsed. With no electricity, industrial production has come to a standstill. I anticipate things will not get better for the next few weeks given the damage to the infrastructure.“

The BBN industrial hub, located at the foothills of the Himalayas, is home to almost 2,400 manufacturing units across sectors including pharmaceuticals, FMCG, and textiles. It contributes 40 per cent to the State’s annual revenues.

Shailesh Aggarwal, ex-President, BBN Industries Association, said, “BBN is completely cut off with all the connecting bridges being washed away. Manpower is unable to reach manufacturing units from nearby regions. The inflow of raw materials and the outflow of finished goods have been badly impacted. Water has reached the shopfloors of manufacturing units in some instances.” Advisories have been issued recommending that people stay at home.