Three days after Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur announced in the state Assembly to keep the 13050 ft High Rohtang Pass open round the year and specially during the next winter season, the Border Road Organisation has started snow clearance operations on this snowy high altitude road, announcing to facilitate the vehicular traffic to the land-locked Lahaul Spiti district, by early May.
Preponing the annual operation, the BRO began snow clearance operations on Monday, deciding to throw open the strategic Manali-Rohtang-Keylong road in early May, however, its success entirely depends on a conducive and clear weather.
Unveiling the operation, Commanding Officer Col AK Awasthi of 38 Border Road Task Force (BRTF) said that BRO would try to clear snow from the highway as soon as possible.
The construction wing of Indian Army has decided to press three different teams for the operation, with the first one pressed at Rahla fall, second at Koksar side and third one would approach Rohtang from Darcha towards Baralacha pass. Col Awasthi claimed that all these three teams were deployed with heavy machines like dozers, snow cutters and sufficient man power to support the operation.
The BRO officials have to brave a 15-feet high snow wall at Rahla fall facing South side, followed by Rahani Nallah on the north.
''BRO is expected to resume the road link of Keylong with tourist resort Manali in early May, however, success depends upon clear weather conditions. ''We would concentrate to further open Manali-Leh highway ahead of Keylong till Sarchu, nearly 222 km away from Manali. Simultaneously, machinery would be engaged in formation cutting to widen the highway,'' the officer revealed. Round the year after heavy winter snowfall, the entire road becomes unfit for plying of vehicular traffic and BRO normally opens the road for public transport by the end of May or early June.
BRO started snow clearance from 32 km away from Manali towards higher elevation, instead of Gulaba, due to less snowfall in the low line this year.
Last year, BRO began this operations on March 19, which is preponed, just a week ahead. BRO engineers claimed that road was likely to be clear in the next few weeks as snow clearing work kicked off with ceremonial puja. Since the Herculean task in freezing temperature require inner will, the BRO will also perform puja for seeking divine blessing for smooth operation and safety of its staff and machinery.
During the day, Mercury remains near minus 10 degrees, besides BRO team have to brave the current high velocity winds, which is a challenging task ahead, as work would proceed to high altitude, the BRO staff added.
The Chief Minister, while delivering the Budget speech on March 9, said that in many European countries, more snowfall takes place than Himachal Pradesh. Roads remain open by continuous clearing of snow through machines. Mr Thakur said that Rohtang tunnel would take two years to commission fully, moreover, the government would follow the European countries, where many roads keep open during the winter.
The state government would also invite international bidding for keeping the Sachh Pass, Jalori Pass, Khara Pathar and Rohtang Pass open during winters, Mr Thakur added. UNI ML RJ 1940
-- (UNI) -- C-1-DL0454-1286456.Xml