Manali: The Atal Tunnel, Rohtang that connects Kullu valley with Lahaul will remain out of reach for tourists and locals on June 11 due to the visit of President Ram Nath Kovind.
The President is scheduled to visit Manali and Lahaul and during his visit to the Atal Tunnel, he would be briefed about its features and construction by Border Roads Organisation (BRO) officials. The tunnel was thrown open to the public by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 3, 2020.
Due to the peak summer season in Manali, more than 15,000 tourists have been reaching Manali in about 3,000 vehicles daily. A majority of them are visiting Lahaul valley too, leading to long traffic jams. The police of Kullu and Lahaul-Spiti districts have drawn up plans to restrict traffic movement on June 11 in view of the President’s visit.
The President is scheduled to reach Sissu helipad in Lahaul-Spiti by helicopter. He is scheduled to enter the Atal Tunnel through its north portal and then reach the south portal where he would be briefed by the BRO officials.
From the south portal, President Ram Nath Kovind is expected to return to Sissu and then fly to the Defense Geoinformatics Research Establishment (DGRE) in Manali. After lunch, he will visit the Bhuntar airport through helicopter and then leave for Delhi.
A party of police personnel has already reached Manali to handle the security and traffic arrangements for the President’s visit. Intelligence and Army officials have also been deputed even as helicopter trials are underway from Sissu to the DGRE and from the DGRE to Bhuntar.
In a press release here today Kullu police superintendent stated that traffic going towards Atal Tunnel and Lahaul-Spiti are advised to leave Manali by 8.00 AM on 11/6/2022. Traffic will be stopped in Dhundhi from 10.00 am to 11.50 pm. No vehicle will be parked on the road and when the traffic is stopped, the vehicles will be parked in the parking lot. Vehicles going to Rohtang Pass would be allowed to continue to run as before, but the vehicles going towards Solang Nala would have to be parked at a parking ground. No vehicle would be allowed to be parked on the side of the road between SASE (Bahang) to Dhundhi. Emergency vehicles will not be stopped, the police communique states.
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.