Snow clearance work on Manali-Rohtang highway from March 1
Snow clearance near Rohtang pass
Thousands of residents of snow-bound Lahaul would shortly
be linked to outer world as Border Roads Organization (BRO) is starting its
snow clearance operation to restore traffic on Manali-Rohtang-Leh highway from
March 1, followed by a pooja ceremony at Kothi, near Manali.
Snow cutter on Manali-Leh road
A snow cutter at Gulaba makes way to Rohtang Pass (file photo)
Rohtang pass (13,050ft) is expected to have covered under 25 to 30 feet thick sheet of snow.
Thickness of snow can be over 50 feet at some glacier points including Rahni
Nullah. As snowfall would continue till late March, snow accumulation is likely
to increase by 10 to 20 feet in next few days. Main hurdle which jawans of BRO
would face in snow clearing operation will be avalanches and landslides, in
addition to finding the missing road which is similar to finding needle in
haystack. For the safety of jawans, BRO will organize a pooja at Kothi, from
where the snow clearing work will start.
Residents of Lahaul who are dependent on emergency helicopter service to stay connected with
outer world wait for the restoration of the Manali-Keylong highway which passes through
mighty Rohtang pass. The same highway which further connects with Leh in the Ladakh
region is a vital link in military point of view. The convoys of military also
wait for opening of the highway to take necessary military supply to Ladakh.
To restore highway fast, snow clearing will be started from both sides of Rohtang. 38 Border RoadTask Force commander Colonel Yogesh Nair said all preparations have been done
to start digging snow from Kothi side. Baralacha-la (16,020ft) would be the
second pass where BRO would concentrate after Rohtang pass. Dozens of BRO
jawans suffer minor frostbites, cold and face burns with high-velocity icy
winds of Rohtang while opening the road.
Project Deepak of BRO maintains the 222-km-long stretch of Manali-Sarchu highway which is
needed to be restored to open 474km-long Manali-Leh highway. Traffic on
Manali-Leh road comes to complete halt after a snowfall in November and
December every year.

Rohtang to open for pedestrians from March 15

Manali based Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports(ABVIMAS) which had earlier decided to set up its rescue posts on either sides of Rohtang pass for safety of pedestrians have postponed its plans till March 15.
Saying that it can be dangerous to cross Rohtang pass due to bad weather conditions and fear
of avalanches, ABVIMAS director RS Salhuria said the rescue posts will be
installed on March 15. “People may start crossing Rohtang if we install posts
in first week of March which may put them into trouble. Weather is hostile on
pass and avalanches pose danger all the time. We have taken this decision after
discussion with Lahaul-Spiti deputy commissioner,” he said.
Each rescue post shall have medical experts, police, wireless operator and rescue experts who
would ensure safe passage of pedestrians through Rohtang pass by registering
them on both the posts at Koksar (Lahaul) and Marhi (Kullu). Setting up of
rescue posts provide relief to residents of Lahaul who otherwise remain
dependant on emergency helicopter service to cross Rohtang pass.

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The Himalayan


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