Manali: Equipped with modern machinery and technically skilled officers and jawans, the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) started snow-clearance operation on the Manali-Leh highway soon after holding prayers and a puja at Gulaba on April 4, about 32 km from here.
Colonel Uma Shanker(SM), Commander, 38 Border Road Task Force (BRTF), said massive efforts were being made to open the Rohtang Pass, the gateway to Lahaul-Spiti open by second week of may provided the weather conditions remain favourable. Efforts were being made to open the Manali- Rothang Pass by the second week of May. The work is in progress from the other side of Rohtang Pass in the Lahaul valley, he added.
He further said the early opening of the 13,050-ft-high Rohtang Pass will also bring great relief to the Lahaul-Spiti valley inhabitants. He said five snow-clearing teams had been deployed for opening of the 222-km Manali- Sarchu road. Snow cutters and other modern machines were being used besides the services of dedicated and well organized team work of officers and jawans.
Uma Shanker said they had to cut through 20ft to 30ft of snow. Thickness of snow near Rohtang top could be 40ft.
The Commander said the first team from Manali was clearing snow near Gulaba towards Rohtang Pass, while the second team is clearing snow between Koksar and Rohtang Pass. The third team is moving from Darcha towards Baralacha Pass. Five snow cutters, six excavators, eight dozers and other machines have been deployed to execute the task.
The Colonel said the work started after organizing a puja in Gulaba where all officers, jawans and machine operators prayed for their safety and favourable conditions. He has directed jawans to take their safety on priority. He further added that his prime goal was to open Manali-Rohtang-Keylong highway to bring relief to thousands of people of Lahaul valley.
Meanwhile, Deputy director ABMI, Manali, Raman Gharsangi said two rescue posts had been established on either side of Rohtang Pass for the convenience of the people of Lahaul.He added Rescue team deployed at Koksar rescue hut was airlifted and dropped off at Koksar…the rescue hut at Koksar becomes functional today onwards…the team deployed at Marhi will reach on the 1st of April….so from 1st April onwards both the rescue teams will be operational to help and escort people crossing the Rohtang Pass.
He requested pedestrians to register themselves at both the posts before and after crossing the mighty Rohtang Pass. He also said that pedestrians should not risk their lives and should cross Rohtang only after ensuring that the weather was clear.