Recent snowfall and dipping temperature in high altitude areas of Himachal Pradesh has affected the cross-border trade with China through the Shipki La, 18,599 feet above the sea level, in the Kinnaur district.
This year, the trade, which commences in August and continues till November, witnessed a boom with 189 traders registering themselves with the Kinnaur district authorities. Of the total applicants, the central government, so far, has issued trade permits to 89 people, but snowfall in the higher reaches has affected the trade.
The pass has received intermittent snowfall for the past two days. Pooh tehsildar Rajesh Kumar Verma, while talking to Hindustan Times over the phone, said, “The trade between India and China through the Shipki La has been affected as 3 to 4 inches snow has settled on the road from Namgya to Shipki village.” “The traders carry their goods on mules and ponies and trek upto 123 km to reach to Trading point in Shipki village,” he added.
The pass is the ancient silk route, but the trade along the same came to a halt after aggression with China in 1962, and was later resumed in 1994 after both the governments signed a protocol.
In the olden days, the trade through the route was dependent on the barter system, but off late it has got impetus with the central government, increasing a list of trading items. The government in 2012 had banned import of livestock.
Snow forecast in coming week
The meteorological department has, meanwhile, predicted more snowfall in the higher altitude areas of the state in the coming week. Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti district was recorded coldest with night temperature at -0.5° Celsius, while Kalpa in Kinnaur district settled at 1.4° C.
The state capital, Shimla, recorded minimum temperature of 6.4° C, while Manali settled at 3.6° C, Dharamsala at 14.2° C, Sundarnagar at 10° C, Bhuntar at 9.4° C, Una at 7.5° C, Nahan at 12.6° C, Palampur at 9° C, Dalhousie at 7.6° C, Solan at 6.7° C, Chamba at 9.4° C, Kangra at 10.4° C, Bilaspur at 14.6° C, Hamirpur at 13.2° C and Mandi at 13.1° C.
Shimla meteorological centre director Manmohan Singh said the weather would remain dry till November 2 and the temperature might further decrease then on. “Snowfall and rain is expected in the higher altitude areas of the state from November 3,” he added.