Road connecting Pangi and Lahaul to be turned into double-lane national highway

Manali, June 15 The road connecting two picturesque valleys in Himachal Pradesh — Pangi in Chamba and Lahaul in Lahaul-Spiti — is set to be upgraded to double-lane national highway to ensure yearlong connectivity, as part of ‘Project Deepak’ of the Border Roads Organization (BRO).

At present, most part of the Sansari-Killar-Thirot-Tandi road is single lane with some stretches being unmetalled, causing inconvenience to the motorists. The highway will also speed up the construction of several hydropower projects located in the high mountainous locations.

Officials told IANS that the road stretch is challenging. Avalanches in winters and landslides during monsoon cause frequent disruptions on the road. Deep river valley on one side and steep hard-rock face on the other with precariously hanging rocks make travel on the road perilous for the tourists and locals alike.

Due to its strategic nature, as it provides connectivity potential between Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, the BRO has been tasked to upgrade it to double-lane standards.

The Border Roads Task Force located here has submitted a detailed project report for the road stretch from Udaipur to Tindi to ‘Project Deepak’ recently. It is also in the process of preparing a detailed project report for two remaining stretches, from Shour to Killar and from Tandi to Thirot, which are expected to be prepared by August.

The road connecting valleys in Himachal Pradesh

Land acquisition and forest clearance are being processed simultaneously for which BRO officials at Udaipur are regularly pursuing the matter with the concerned civil administration, as commencement of work is conditional to pace of land acquisition and forest clearance by the civil administration.

Once the road is upgraded, it will give numerous dividends. Upgradation of the road and bridges will also facilitate setting up of numerous run-of-the-river hydro electric projects (HEP) in the Chenab river in Himachal Pradesh. The 500 MW Duggar hydropower project being planned by the NHPC will be the largest in the area.

In addition, state SJVN has been awarded to construct Bordang, Purthi, SachKhas and Reoli-Dugli hydro projects in the area. The NHPC is in close coordination with the BRO for surfacing of unmetalled stretches of the road and upgradation of the bridges to facilitate early construction of the projects.

The present status of the road does cause some inconvenience to the locals and tourists alike. However, the conditions are transitory and soon the development of the project will fructify and provide much-needed breather to the commuters.

Upgradation of the road will also enable yearlong connectivity to the people of the tribal belt of Pangi Valley to Kullu district — a major commercial hub in the area — through BRO constructed Atal Tunnel, which otherwise used to get cutoff for seven months from November to June each year.

The economy of the region is also set to get a major boost because of the road in coming years, and the BRO is eager to be the leading player in this endeavour.

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