Himachal’s Lahaul-Spiti restricts entry of vehicles till Jan 24 due to heavy snowfall
In view of inclement weather in the high-altitude Lahaul-Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh, the administration has decided to allow tourist vehicles to enter the valley through Atal Tunnel at Rohtang Pass only from 10am to 11am and from 12 noon to 3pm. Vehicles that enter during this period are to leave the valley by 4pm.
“Tourists with advance bookings in hotels and homestays at Keylong, Udaipur or any other location in Lahaul will be allowed to reach their destination subject to road worthiness and weather conditions,” Lahaul-Spiti deputy commissioner Pankaj Rai said on Thursday.
These orders will be applicable till January 24.
The tunnel will remain closed for maintenance between 11am and 12 noon.
Local residents familiar with the road conditions and habitual of driving in the valley have also been advised to reach their destinations by 5pm except in case of any emergency. They have been advised to prefer 4x4 vehicles with chains.
RESTRICTIONS IN PUBLIC INTEREST : DC
Rai said that the movement of vehicles, particularly of tourists, is on the rise in the valley ever since the Atal Tunnel was inaugurated in October last year.
Due to the snowfall and low temperatures in the Lahaul valley, the roads get slippery during early morning and evening, making driving risky.
“The restrictions have been imposed in public interest and safety. It is necessary to avoid accidents,” he said.
Due to the snowfall and bad road conditions due to icing, the Lahaul-Spiti police authorities are consulting their Border Roads Organisation (BRO) counterparts and coordinating with Kullu district police for allowing the movement of vehicles beyond Solang Nala towards North Portal of Atal Tunnel.
INTENSE COLD WAVE CONDITIONS
Himachal Pradesh is experiencing intense cold wave conditions with the minimum temperatures in the state falling four degrees since Wednesday as snowfall and rainfall continue in scattered places across the state.
Kalpa received 6cm snow, while Dalhousie recorded 12mm of rain, Dharamshala 11.8mm, Manali 9mm, Chamba 8mm, Una 3mm and Shimla 0.8mm on Wednesday.
State meteorological department director Manmohan Singh said that the weather is likely to remain clear in the state on Thursday.
The minimum temperature in Shimla on Thursday morning was 3.9°C, while Kufri, 14km from Shimla, recorded 0°C.
Hill stations of Manali in Kullu district, Dharamshala in Kangra district and Dalhousie in Chamba district recorded a minimum temperature of -1.2°C, 4.6°C and 2.9°C.
Una recorded a low of 6.6°C, Solan 2.2°C, Bilaspur 9°C, Hamirpur 8.8°C, Mandi 4.1°C and Nahan 10.9°C, respectively.
Kalpa in Kinnaur district registered a low of -5°C and Keylong, the headquarters of Lahaul-Spiti district, was the coldest place in the state at -11.6°C.