Following risks associated with driving on many frozen stretches of Manali-Leh highway, the movement of tourists along this route has almost stopped. It has hit the tourism industry in Manali.
Less than a dozen cabs from Manali are plying Manali-Ladakh highway these days as driving on frozen road is dangerous. Most of tourists are preferring direct flights from Delhi to Leh which has left hundreds of taxi operators unemployed. Tourists while leaving for Ladakh, use Manali as their halt for one day and hire cab for their onward journey. October and November being off season in Manali, taxi operators are waiting for passengers. Now, most of the drivers have parked their cabs without passengers.
With more than 1,700 cabs and 80 mini buses, the Him-Aanchal Taxi Operators Union in Manali is the largest in the state. Vice-president of the union Beas Dev said driving on Manali-Leh highway is dangerous both for driver and tourists. He adds, “Only some experienced drivers are daring to drive on frost. Most of the tourists are opting for airways. Now we are hoping for good business during Christmas weekend in December.”
The temperature being below freezing point, three stretches between Darcha and Sarchu in Lahaul-Spiti including a stream at Bharatpur have frozen completely. The route may experience snowfall any time. And it would be blocked for traffic. To avoid dangers, travel agents are advising tourists to take alternate means of transport.
Padam Singh, owner of two mini buses and a SUV in Manali is upset as he has no work to do. “I had purchased cabs to earn from tourism in Ladakh. The rough Manali-Leh highway is suitable only for SUVs and buses which are not in demand now. Tourism in Manali is already dull. Now we will have to face the recession period till May 2012,” he said.
Similar is the condition of most of taxi operators in Kullu and Manali. The Manali-Gramphu-Spiti highway too is reported frozen at many stretches near Kunzum pass.
Huge difference in temperature in Himachal, Keylong freezes at 2.4 C
Manali: Himachal on Sunday recorded a big difference in temperature in its districts. Situated at north east end of the state, Keylong recorded minimum temperature of 2.4 degree Celsius while Una, at south west, recorded maximum temperature of 33.6 degree Celsius.
Compared to the last week’s temperature, Keylong, district headquarters of Lahaul-Spiti district, recorded a fall of 1.1 degree Celsius, 1 degree below the normal temperature for this time of season. Here the maximum temperature was 17.7 degree Celsius. Minimum temperature in Una was 13.4 degree Celsius.
Shimla, Kullu, Dharamshala, Mandi, Kalpa, Nahan and Solan recorded minimum temperature of 10.6, 11.5, 14.1, 12.9, 5.6, 21.1 and 9 degree Celsius respectively.