Rohtang Pass, the gateway to Lahaul and Spiti and Ladakh region, which is still covered in a white blanket of snow, will be thrown open for tourists on May 26.
It was disclosed by local SDM Viney Dhiman while interacting with mediapersons here on Thursday. Dhiman added that at present, the tourists visiting Manali were not being allowed to travel beyond Marhi on the Manali-Leh border road as road maintenance after snow-clearing operation was on by the General Reserve Engineering Force (GREF), a wing of Border Roads Organisation (BRO).
He said the ban on the plying of vehicles with registration numbers from outside states would remain in force. Tourists would have to hire local taxis from Kothi, 15 km from Manali, if they wish to visit Rohtang Pass. “The local drivers are familiar with the local topography and weather conditions. This helps check road blockades and mishaps,” said the SDM.
He revealed that three police check posts would be set up at Kothi, Marhi and Rohtang Pass to regulate the tourist traffic during the present tourist season adding that a traffic system would be regulated.
He said from Manali, the vehicles would be allowed to leave for Rohtang Pass between 6am to 11am and from Rohtang Pass to Manali between 1pm to 5pm only and on Tuesday the tourists would be allowed only up to Marhi.
The SDM added that tenders had been passed to launch a cleanliness drive during the present tourist season at Rohtang, Solang Nallah and Marhi at a cost of Rs 7.4 lakh with the funds sanctioned by the Special Area Development Authority.
He said two food stalls would be set up at Marhi from May 24 to cater to the needs of tourists by the HP Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC). He said so far mobile vans carrying pre-cooked meals and snacks had also been facilitating the tourists at Marhi and surrounding areas.
Besides, SDM has also advised the tourists to take packed lunch with them while leaving for Rohtang Pass till adequate arrangements were not made.
Rohtang Pass links Manali with Leh in Jammu and Kashmir playing a significant role in the movement of the armed forces and military vehicles to Ladakh.