Inclement weather hampered the operation undertaken by the Border Roads Organization (BRO) on clearing the Manali-Leh highway that goes through' the Rohtang Pass with the area receiving fresh snowfall during the past few days. The BRO, which started its road clearance work from Gulaba ahead toward the 13,050 foot high pass on March 19, cleared a 31 km stretch from Manali to Rahlafall but bad weather slowed down the progress once again.
Speaking to this reporter, Col KP Rajendra of the BRO said: “Due to bad weather work on clearing the road was hampered because of fresh snowfall occurring in the region, which blocked the road. A snow avalanche occurred near Rahlafall, where the BRO team is struggling to clear the road. However, work is expected to be completed within one or two days.”
The BRO team is also engaged in road clearance work from Lahaul side to open the road for vehicular activities, which is moving toward Sisu. “The road will be cleared up to Sisu in the next four or five days,” said BRO commander KP Rajendra.
The prolonged winter season has added to the woes of residents of Lahaul-Spiti district, most of whom have been trapped in their homes for more than a month as all interlinking roads in the area are blocked due to the heavy snowfall in the region.
After strenuous efforts by the BRO a 52 km stretch of the Keylong-Udaipur road opened for vehicular traffic in the district, while people of Tindi, Mayar and Sisu valley still detached from the road facility, which will have to wait for a few more days to avail of the facility.
Every year the BRO starts its road clearance work on the Manali-Leh highway via the Rohtang Pass at the beginning of March but this year the prolonged bad weather delayed the start of the operation.
Every winter the Rohtang Pass is closed to vehicular traffic for six months. The region received heavy snowfall during the past few months and chopper services provided by the state government remain the main source of transportation for residents to go to other areas of the state in emergency situations.
BRO officials hope to clear the road by the middle of May. However, if the weather remains hostile it may delay progress on the work.