Manali – Leh Highway Opens Ahead Of Schedule

Manali: Border Roads Organization (BRO) has restored the 425 km long Manali-Leh Highway on Sunday which would provide access to military and common civilians.

Opening of Manali – Leh highway for traffic

The first convoy of Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) bowers was flagged from the Himachal side by Stanzin Chosphel, Executive Councillor, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC). This was in the presence of BRO officials after they announced the opening of this highway.

In spite of the many challenges this year, the BRO has managed to restore this highway more than one-and-a-half-month ahead of schedule.

Generally, the Leh Highway remains closed for about six months during the winters, cutting off Ladhak from the rest of the country. This makes the region dependent on supplies via aerial route.

An oil tanker being flagged off on the Manali – Leh highway

As of the ongoing border tension with China, this year the Union Government had asked the BRO to restore the highway as soon as possible.

The BRO had started a snow clearance operation between Manali to Leh in mid-February, simultaneously clearing four important passes along the route viz Baralachla (16,047 ft), Nakeela (16,170 ft), Lachungla (16,616 ft) and Tanglangla (17,582 ft).

In order to increase attack points, a strategy was formed, and therefore, Baralachla and Tanglangla were addressed from both sides by disclosed BRO sources.

According to sources of the BRO this year the latest hi-tech machinery was summarily inducted and BRO teams working uncompromisingly day and night to provide early output.

The dynamics were different this year with the inauguration of Atal Tunnel, Rohtang, and there was no obligation of opening Rohtang Pass as the Lahaul valley remains connected throughout the winters via Atal tunnel.

This facilitated the complete focus of BRO to be diverted for the opening of Baralachala with additional resources to restore connectivity at the earliest.

According to sources, the opening of Baralachala Pass was formulated as a bilateral thrust to commence, simultaneously, from two sides one from Patsio to Baralachla and the second point from Sarchu to Baralachala.

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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