Manali: Heavy snow has crippled normal life at his popular tourist destination and two snow avalanches near Atal (Rohtang) Tunnel have blocked the road access to Lahaul valley. However, no loss of life or damage to property was caused by the avalanches.
Officials of Border Roads Organization (BRO), mandated with maintaining the Rohtang Tunnel said that a snow avalanche had covered a 100-meter stretch of the highway near the south portal of the tunnel on the Manali-Keylong highway. The snow avalanche had left a snow pile 265 cm high, which had blocked the highway completely, and even emergency vehicles were not able to ply between Manali and Keylong.
The BRO authorities immediately pressed into action its task workforce and machinery to clear the highway for traffic movement.
Due to the snowfall, traffic movement in the Manali subdivision and tribal area of Lahaul and Spiti came to a standstill. The residents of the Lahaul valley were cut off from the rest of the state after the road beyond the Solang valley towards Lahaul was blocked.
Earlier the Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE), Manali, has issued an avalanche alert in parts of Kullu and Lahaul, and Spiti in the coming days. As a result, the deputy commissioners of Kullu and Lahaul-Spiti have issued an advisory for the common public to avoid venturing into snowbound areas.
The movement of tourists has been restricted towards the Solang valley from Manali beyond Nehru Kund.
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.