Army engineers throw open Manali-Leh road for vehicular traffic

Manali: Having remained snowbound for 7 months the Manali Leh road was reopened for vehicular traffic on Monday (15.6.2015)

Before being thrown open for public use, the road clearance from Manali to Sarchu was inspected by Lt Gen R M Mitral, Director General Border Roads – the agency tasked with clearing the snow from this important border road.

Gen Mittal was all praise for 38 BRTF, the main battalion force behind the snow clearing operations which this year was a herculean task because of record heavy snowfall in the high passes of Kullu-Manali and Lahaul valley.

Snow clearing operations atop Rohtang Pass; File Photo - Sanjay Dutta
Snow clearing operations atop Rohtang Pass; File Photo – Sanjay Dutta

Interacting with the media after throwing open the highway to Leh, Gen Mittal said that to make this vital road an all weather alternate road to Ladhak five tunnels under snowbound passes needed to be constructed.

The organization was working for constructing of these tunnels and detailed project reports (DPR) were under preparation, he said. For expediting the process, laying out of the DPRs has been outsourced to reputed agencies, added Mittal.

Col RP Rajendra Commander of 38 BRTF let Hill Post know that the Manali to Leh road was closed on 31 Oct 2014 after a heavy snow fall on the 4950 meter high Baralachla pass.

Snow clearance operations for opening the road was started by our battalion on 19 March and culminated on Monday.

The snow clearing on the 222 Km Manali to Sarchu road was carried out with the help of 22 snow clearance machines and about 300 high altitude engineers and workers who are experts in snow clearance, said Col Rajendra.

The battalion commander disclosed that it would take another weeks time to clear the Manali to Spiti road,

Snow clearance work has already been completed till Chotta Dhara and soon work on clearing the mighty 4550 meter high Kunzum Pass of snow will be completed and the road would be cleared for vehicular traffic, said Col Rajendra.

Sanjay Dutta, an engineer by qualification but is a journalist by choice. He has worked for the premier new agency Press Trust of India and leading English daily Indian Express. With more than a decade of experience, he has been highlighting issues related to environment, tourism and other aspects affecting mountain ecology. Sanjay Dutta lives in a village close to Manali in Kullu valley of Himachal.

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