Leh-Manali highway set to open next week as BRO clears winter snow
The strategic 490-kilometre-long Leh-Manali highway, which connects Ladakh with Himachal Pradesh, is expected to be open for traffic from the next week, as Border Roads Organisation (BRO) personnel have cleared the winter snow off the highway, a month earlier than the last year, amid the raging coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak in the country.
Senior BRO officials said that the road, connecting Leh with the rest of the country, is likely to be opened on Monday.
Projects Himank and Deepak cleared the snow from the challenging and treacherous 16,050-feet high Baralacha pass and 17,480-feet high Tanglangla Pass, they added.
“The snow accumulation in these sectors recorded over 35 feet at places and has an average height of 15 feet,” a senior BRO official said.
Ladakh, which remains cut off from the mainland for over five months during winter, has two primary access roads — the national highway from Srinagar over the 11,570-feet high Zojila pass between Sonmarg and Kargil and the Manali-Leh road.
Passengers, who were stranded in Bandipora due to the Covid-19 pandemic, were allowed to return to the picturesque Gurez Valley.
“The passengers were screened by a team of doctors at Lal Quila Morh at Pethkoot village. The vehicles were thoroughly fumigated before allowing them to proceed towards their destination,” said Reyaz Ahmad Beigh, assistant commissioner, (revenue), Bandipora.
“The civil administration and doctors will decide whether to keep these passengers under institutional or home quarantine,” he added.
Though Gurez-Bandipora road was opened for traffic in early May, there was a ban on the entry into the valley as a precautionary measure because of the pandemic.