Rohtang, June 4 The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) today threw open the 465-km Manali-Leh highway for one-way movement for the civic and army traffic, linking the land-locked Lahaul valley to rest of the country after a gap of around six months.
The opening of the Rohtang pass has come as a big relief for the people of Lahaul valley. Onions and tomatoes which were sold at Rs 40 and Rs 70 per kg till yesterday now are available for Rs 15 and Rs 20, respectively, said Mr Ajey Kumar, a resident of Keylong. “The essential commodities were also in short supply as the BRO had declared May 29 as the deadline. The prices of other items have also come down as the supplies have been resumed now,” he informed.
The Commander, BRO, Mr KB Raju, who visited the spot here, said the tourist traffic going to Rohtang pass would not be allowed as it would take at least a week to make access to the parking places at the top. “But the civilians and tourists who wish to go to Keylong and Leh can go as the road is allowed for one- way traffic. As many as 25 civil and 67 Army vehicles crossed the pass yesterday,” he informed.
Raju said that the tourist traffic is being allowed till Marhi, 17 km short of Rohtang pass and 35 kms from Manali.
Snow-clearing on the Manali-Serchu highway costs around Rs 2 crore every year, informed Mr Raju. “This time, we cleared snow up to 60-70 ft here, much less than what we faced last year. We faced blizzards and avalanches, but the operation went on without a mishap. We have six snow cutters and dozers to clear the snow, he said
I spoke to a couple of travellers 2 days ago who had walked out over Kunzum La. They had a hell of a walk through deep snow, crossing glaciers etc . Their guide said that he had never seen so much ice and snow. It looks like it will be some time before this road is open. Indeed this couple reported that some locals weren't sure that the pass would open at all this season!
The Manali Leh highway is open.. now. A few vehicles(mainly Sumo and Qualis) are leaving daily for leh. But the passes cud be motorable only for a few hrs every day. I reached Rohtang at 5 AM and it was all snowed out a few kms from the pass. The snow was finally cleared at 10 AM and the BRO ppl said that today the pass will remain open only for 2 hrs for tourist vehicles bound for Keylong and beyond.
We went by motorbikes till the Jot and encountered a lot of black ice early morning during the last 7-8 Km stretch. Even the Sumo etc were skidding dangerously. A truck rammed into the side.
The conditions are not easy but yes you can now do the Manali Leh highway.. do have sufficient time as conditions are still very fluid...
Look around and chose your own ground For long you live and high you fly And smiles you'll give and tears you'll cry And all you touch and all you see Is all your life will ever be...
Last ride : Bhutan, Arunachal, Sikkim.. (Where do I ride next?) My Travel Journal... http://the-never-ending-road.blogspot.com