Lack of modern equipment to clear snowbound roads has thrown normal life out of gear in many parts of Himachal Pradesh with no power and water supply, more than three days since heavy snowfall hit the state.
The Himachal Pradesh government does not have a single snow cutting machine to clear snow accumulated on the roads.
Admitting that they lack state-of-the-art equipment, chief secretary Anil Kumar Khachi told PTI that the state administration will have the machines by next winter season.
Many parts of the middle and higher hills are also without electricity and water since Wednesday's snowfall.
SDMA Director-cum-Special Secretary (Revenue) D C Rana said power and water supply would soon be restored.
Though 440 machines including 381 earth movers, 16 bulldozers and 43 tippers are on the job to clear snow from the roads, they have not managed to fully clear the path as many roads remain blocked.
As per data provided by a State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) official on Friday evening, as many as 835 roads in various parts including 642 in Shimla zone are still cut off for motorists.
Khachi said, “Men and machine are on the job but it is not easy to clear snow immediately as it takes time because we have our limits.”
On Friday evening, an elderly person lost his life after slipping on a snow covered road in Shimla city.
Besides, several people were seen skidding on the road outside Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur's official residence, sources said.
A number of tourists and local people also skidded on the Ridge, Mall Road and on Jakhu Road in Shimla city, they added.
Responding to the death, the chief secretary said, “It's an unfortunate incident that one person died and several others sustained injuries after skidding in various places after snowfall. We are trying our best to clear the snow from the roads."
He urged people to be cautious while walking on the roads.
The meteorological department has forecast rain, snowfall in the state from January 11 to 17 due to two western disturbances with the Met centre issuing orange warning of heavy rain, snowfall on January 13 and 16.
The weatherman said the first western disturbance will be active in the state from January 11 to 13 while the other one will be from January 14 to 16.