|A snow cutter at Gulaba makes way to Rohtang Pass (file pic)|
Wednesday, 27 February 2013
Snow clearance work on Manali-Rohtang highway from March 1
Himachal Vacation Travel News
MANALI: 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.
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 restoration of Manali-Keyong highway which passes through mighty Rohtang pass. The same highway which further connects with Leh in 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 snowfall in November and December every year.
Rohtang to open for pedestrians from March 15
MANALI: 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.