Poll material for 2019 Lok Sabha elections to reach snowbound Lahaul-Spiti via Rohtang tunnel
Even as Lahaul and Spiti remains snowbound, electronic voting machines and other election material for the Lok Sabha elections in Himachal Pradesh will be transported through the under-construction Rohtang Tunnel.
The Border Road Organisation (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.
SOME ELECTION MATERIAL AIRLIFTED
“The Election Commission requested the defence ministry and border road organisation to help transport election material and staff through the 8.8 km Rohtang tunnel, which is at present, under construction,” said additional chief electoral officer DK Rattan. “Some of the election material has already been airlifted to Keylong.”
“The road connecting the north portal of tunnel will be opened to traffic on Wednesday. At present, it is snowing in the region,” said chief engineer, BRO, brigadier Dinesh Tyagi.
The construction of the Rohtang Tunnel, which at 3,000m above sea level, is one of the world’s most challenging projects, is about to complete. The tunnel is likely to open in November 2019.
It will provide all-season connectivity to the landlocked Lahaul Valley and reduce the driving distance by nearly 46km. The tunnel will reduce the drive between Manali and Keylong by 5km.
The construction work, which started in 2010 was expected to be completed by 2017 but a rivulet sprang in the tunnel in 2012, delaying the project.
The border road organisation has assured the government that it will open the Rohtang pass to traffic by the end of the month.
The BRO has already restored the Stingri Darcha road.
There are 92 polling stations in Lahaul and Spiti district. Of the total 23,407 voters, 11,688 are male and 11,734 are female.