With the meeting of two snow cutters at Rohtang from both sides of the 13,050 feet high pass on Monday, the Manali-Keylong highway is ready to host the traffic after six-month-long period.
Snow has been cleared from the 129 km stretch between Manali and Keylong. Manali-Keylong-Leh highway was blocked following a heavy snowfall in winters and Lahaul-Spiti district of Himachal was cut off from the rest of country since December 19, 2010. According to border roads organization officials, their vehicles would cross the Rohtang on Wednesday while they are making the highway fit for civilians. “The task was very hard but we made it,” 38 border roads task force, a wing of the border roads organization, commander AK Dixit said. He added that soon the traffic would be allowed to cross the Rohtang pass but before that their aim is to widen the highway for the safe journey.
You won’t believe we have cut through the mountains of 50 to 60 feet of snows. Right now we have made way to only one side traffic. In case another vehicle comes from opposite side, it is very difficult to cross them at the same time as 20 to 30 feet high walls of snow are protecting the edges of highway. Preparation of parking space at Rohtang and work of road widening is on at war footing,” commanding officer of the wing, Praveen Yerunkar said.
This is the day of happiness for tribal people of Lahaul-Spiti who have once again connected to the outer world. Having faced with many adversities, people of Lahaul will soon take the benefit of bus service as ointment to their wounds.
BRO officials said tourists shall only be allowed to reach Rohtang after almost a week as the flood of traffic can cause havoc there. Tourists would be able to enjoy the stunning views of Rohtang soon. After making the highway safe for traffic, we shall move to Baralacha-la and put our entire power to restore Manali-Leh highway, commander said.
Last year BRO had restored the Manali-Keylong highway in record time on April 15. But this time, record 50 feet snow on Rohtang had caused trouble for both BRO and tribals of Lahaul-Spiti.
Soon after listening to the news of restoration of highway up to Rohtang, the Himachal Vacation Travel Company is flooded with the enquiries from across the country and abroad as well. Excitement and love of tourists for snow and Rohtang pass is simply clear from the fact that countless bookings are pouring in since morning today (Monday). We hope for a long winter season over scorching summers of plains at Rohtang and Manali.