Rohtang, June 4
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) today threw open the 465-km Manali-Leh highway for one-way movement for the civic and army traffic, linking the land-locked Lahaul valley to rest of the country after a gap of around six months.
The opening of the Rohtang pass has come as a big relief for the people of Lahaul valley. Onions and tomatoes which were sold at Rs 40 and Rs 70 per kg till yesterday now are available for Rs 15 and Rs 20, respectively, said Mr Ajey Kumar, a resident of Keylong. “The essential commodities were also in short supply as the BRO had declared May 29 as the deadline. The prices of other items have also come down as the supplies have been resumed now,” he informed.
The Commander, BRO, Mr KB Raju, who visited the spot here, said the tourist traffic going to Rohtang pass would not be allowed as it would take at least a week to make access to the parking places at the top. “But the civilians and tourists who wish to go to Keylong and Leh can go as the road is allowed for one- way traffic. As many as 25 civil and 67 Army vehicles crossed the pass yesterday,” he informed.
Raju said that the tourist traffic is being allowed till Marhi, 17 km short of Rohtang pass and 35 kms from Manali.
Snow-clearing on the Manali-Serchu highway costs around Rs 2 crore every year, informed Mr Raju. “This time, we cleared snow up to 60-70 ft here, much less than what we faced last year. We faced blizzards and avalanches, but the operation went on without a mishap. We have six snow cutters and dozers to clear the snow, he said.