EC: Allow voters movement through under-construction Rohtang tunnel
With around 50 polling stations in high-altitude areas of Himachal Pradesh still under snow, the election commission has asked the defence ministry to allow movement of voters through the under-construction tunnel at Rohtang.
Roads from Manali to Leh are still cut off owing to snow on the 13,050 feet Rohtang pass, gateway to the tribal Lahaul and Spiti district. The Border Road Organisation (BRO) had set May 10 as the last date for clearing the snow. But inclement weather condition has hit the snow clearance work.
“Nearly 25-km stretch on the Manali-Leh road is still under snow and it will take another four days to clear the road,” a BRO official, requesting anonymity, said. “High velocity winds, particularly in the afternoon, have impacted the snow clearance work,” he said.
Of the 134 links roads in Lahaul and Spiti district, nearly 23 are still under snow.
The election commission has asked the public roads department and the BRO to throw open all roads to traffic within the next few days. “Today we held a high-level meeting and reviewed the snow clearance work,” said additional chief electoral officer DK Rattan. “We have sent a fresh request to the ministry of defence to allow the under-construction tunnel for the movement of voters,” he said.
The BRO had earlier allowed the election commission to transport poll officials through the tunnel. Electronic voting machines have already been airlifted to Lahaul and Spiti.
The BRO has undertaken the task to clear snow on the road leading to the north portal of tunnel near Teling village in Lahaul Spiti’s Sissu. The north portal was closed in November after a group of people from Lahual and Spiti wanting access to the tunnel forcibly entered it.