Manali: Seeking permission all Monday morning to be allowed to cross the under construction Rohtang tunnel, a group of frustrated Lahauli resident forcefully entered the North Portal in the evening attempting to cross the about 8.8 Km long tunnel on foot to reach the Manali side portal.
With many of those who had entered the tunnel falling unconscious, the district administration had to launch a rescue operation to bring all of them out to safety.
Sources claimed that about 60 persons, which included women and children, did urge Border Roads Organisation (BRO) which is the executing the Rohtang tunnel project, to give the access into the tunnel so that than could cross it and move towards Manali from the Lahaul side. However, the tunnel authorities did not allow them.
On failing to move the concerned authorities, the trespassed and forcibly entered the tunnel. They had covered only a 3-km stretch of the 8.8-km-long tunnel when due to the insufficient oxygen, many of them felt suffocated and fell unconscious.
The BRO authorities informed the Lahaul-Spiti administration who rushed to carry out a rescue operation.“We brought all the people back to Lahaul, one patient had to be taken to a Manali hospital,” said the sub-divisional magistrate of Keylong.
Ramdasi, a native of Lahaul who had fallen unconscious, was taken to a Manali hospital.
An heavy snowfall on Rohtang Pass on November 12 has forced an early closure of the highway to Lahaul valley from Kullu-Manali.
Some valley residents have been asking BRO to clear the Rohtang Pass of snow and restore traffic to Lahaul. But with BRO refusing to clear the pass of and open it for traffic, it has forced the residents to look for alternatives. Some Lahauli’s have even taken it upon themselves and have started collecting donations so that heavy duty snow clearing machinery could be hired to clear the snow from the Pass and traffic could be resumed.