Yesterday BRO announced the start of clearing the Manali-Leh road, and a time plan : trying for an opening of the Rothang La pass by second week in April , and up to Sarchu by the end of April – “if weather conditions in the region remain dry”. Higher powers has already made a comment : weather forecast promises heavy snowfall around the 3000 meter level , i.e. near Gulaba where the snowcutters just have gained a foothold.
Tribune photo : MC Thakur
As usual three teams are working on the road : one from Manali to the Rothang , one between Tandi and Jispa , and the third team has moved out of Jispa , towards Sarchu.
Predicting an opening date for the road becomes making a wager on the coming two months weather , many with me are probably surprised that the BRO is willing to do this after last years debacle : a record early projected opening in April became nearly a record late opening , in practical terms first week in June.
Another work has … well , not started but come to decision : this years railway budget includes funds for starting the fabled railway Bilaspur-Manali-Leh. This involves movng thru a lot harder terrain than the railway to Lhasa : don´t expect this to happen soon. ( The railway to Srinagar is delayed for around a decade now , and 2015 is now being mentioned as closing date ) .
UPPDATE , MARCH 5th : BRO has ground to a halt in heavy snows , and retreated down to Gulaba with all equipment.
UPDATE , APRIL 15TH : Rothang open , BRO talking of reaching Sarchu first week in May , weather permitting.