As the Koksar bridge remained breached for the fourth day today, panic gripped over 200 stranded tourists and local pea growers. A few tourists today drove via marathon 450 km long Udaipur-Gulabagrah-Ramban road via Jammu to reach their destinations across the country and outside. The Army is yet to press into service its Combat Engineers till the filing of this report today to repair the Koksar bridge across the Chandra river on the Manali-Leh national highway-21, 200 km from this divisional headquarters.
With this uncertainty two vehicles took the Udaipur-Jammu road in frustration as the BRO remains uncertain as to when the bridge would be opened to traffic.
The district administration today laid out third “jhula” at Koksar for the movement of the passengers and to take pea bags across the river. But these are insufficient for over 1000 passengers, who cross the river every day, revealed reports here. The manually-operated jhulas take 10-20 minutes for a man to go across the river. There is panic among people to go across. Some people are taking a six-km long trek to go across a local jhula, said inputs from Keylong.
Talking to The Tribune on phone from Lahaul after he supervised work at Koksar Deputy Commissioner Lahaul-Spiti district R. Selvam said that the administration had asked for the help of Army to expedite work on the bridge as ration and other civil supplies including transportation of peas and seed potato are running out and passengers becoming restive. The Army ensured that they would press into service the Combat Engineers to repair the Koksar bridge,” he informed.
Two trucksloads of peas being transported from Leh which were at the bridge for the past five days today got started rotting and traders threw the bags containing peas into the river, said the sources. Even stranded tourists who have taken shelter in the dhabhas are facing hardship as the owners are charging at will. (the horror..)