Shimla: Hundreds of vehicles were stranded on the Manali-Rohtang Pass highway due to massive landslides triggered by a cloudburst near picturesque resort of Manali, an official said on Saturday. No casualties was reported.

"The highway has been blocked at a number of places. Work has been on to reopen it," Deputy Commissioner Amitabh Awasthi said on phone.

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He said a cloudburst occurred in the Rohtang tunnel area near Dhundi, 25 km from Manali, around 10 p.m. on Friday, damaging two balley bridges near Palchan and Dhundi villages.

"The bridges and some portion of the highway between Palchan and Dhundi have been washed away. The total loss to property is estimated Rs.6-7 crore," he added.

Awasthi said more than 150 vehicles have been stranded on the highway. "All the passengers are safe and it would take two to three days to restore the traffic between the Manali and the Rohtang Pass.

"Ved Thakur, president of gram panchayat of Shanag, the village near the disaster spot, said locals are working with the administration in the relief operation. Rescue workers said more than 80 hutments of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), an inter-services organisation under the defence ministry, were washed away.

Even the BRO machinery, which is deployed for the construction of the Rohtang tunnel, was damaged. Over 350 BRO personnel and experts from Germany and Austria have been working round the clock to construct the 8.8-km horseshoe shaped Rohtang tunnel. The work began in June 2010. Cloudbursts and flashfloods in the Manali region are quite frequent during the monsoon.


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