Less precipitation at higher altitudes in Himachal Pradesh this winter has made the Borders Road Organisation start snow clearing operation early in places like Rohtang Pass and some other higher passes in the State.
Commencing the operation this week, the BRO authorities said they were hoping to clear the roads to tribal Lahaul-Spiti district much ahead of the normal target timings, usually the month of June.
The 13,050-foot-high Rohtang Pass road connecting Manali to Ladakh & Keylong would be cleared by the end of April or the beginning of May, said the BRO.
Commanding Officer Col. A.K. Awasthi of 38 Border Road Task Force (BRTF) has revealed that three Army teams have already begun the snow cutting operation at Rahla Falls, Koksar village and Darcha towards the Baralacha Pass. But the success of early operation would also depend on clear and conducive weather in the time to come, he said.
Though there is less snowfall this year, yet the temperatures are still sub-zero and the place experiences very high velocity icy winds even during the day.
The next step would be to clear a stretch of about 222 km of the Manali-Leh highway ahead of Keylong if the Rohtang Pass gets cleared in time.
The State government had also assured assistance to clear these roads in time so as to attract international and domestic tourists.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur in his maiden budget speech had mentioned his government’s efforts to have an all-weather access to these areas to boost the tourism-based economy.
The authorities have also made an all-weather tunnel below the Rohtang Pass, but it has not yet been opened for the general public.
The Rohtang Pass
Rohtang La (La means Pass in Tibetian) is the first pass on the route at a height of 3,978 m (13,050 ft). Rohtang Pass is a high mountain pass on the eastern Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas around 51 km from Manali. It connects the Kullu Valley with the Lahaul and Spiti Valleys of Himachal Pradesh. Culturally you will get a feeling to be already in Ladakh, the few houses that you will see are built in Ladakhi style – unbaked mud bricks, whitewashed walls and flat mud roofs.
Source: The Hindu