Coronavirus lockdown | BRO opens Rohtang Pass 3 weeks in advance

A view of the Rohtang Pass. Photo: Indian Army  

The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) on Saturday opened the Rohtang Pass, three weeks in advance, for transporting essential supplies and relief materials to Lahaul and Spiti districts of Himachal Pradesh amid the lockdown, the Army said. The pass is at 13,058 feet on the eastern Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas.

“Dr. Ram Lal Markanda, Agriculture Minister of Himachal Pradesh, led the first convoy of vehicles, carrying essential supplies and approximately 150 farmers, to the Lahual Valley..., thus officially opening the Rohtang Pass this year,” the Army said in a statement.

The operation to clear snow is carried out every year as the pass remains snow-bound for almost six months, from mid-November to mid-May, isolating Lahaul and Spiti districts from the rest of the country.

“Last year, the Rohtang Pass was kept open till December 12. The valley depends on air traffic for external logistics and supplies during winters,” the statement said. On April 11, the Himachal Pradesh government approached the Director-General, BRO, to speed up snow clearance to help farmers return to start cultivation and transport essential supplies and relief materials to the Lahaul Valley in the wake of COVID-19. BRO inducted hi-tech machinery from Manali and Khoksar. The Army said blizzards, freezing temperatures and avalanches at Rahala Fall, Beas Nallah and Rani Nallah delayed the operation, but teams worked round the clock with precautions against the novel coronavirus.

The work on the 8.8-km-long Atal Tunnel, below the Rohtang Pass, was also stalled when the lockdown started. The work on all critical activities has recommenced with precautions to ensure the completion of the project in September as planned, the statement said.

BRO personnel have contributed ₹1 crore to the PM CARES Fund, over and above their one-day salary, the statement said.

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Printable version | Jun 15, 2021 12:34:50 AM |

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