Tribune News Service
Mandi, January 9
The Lahaul and Spiti district administration has urged the state and Union Government to do away with the process of receiving approval under the Forest Conservation Act (FCA) for construction of the border roads.
The approval under the FCA is pending with the Ministry of Environment and Forest for widening of the strategically important Sumdo-Kaza-Gramphu road in the tribal district of Lahaul and Spiti.
The process of widening the NH 505 is on. A survey has been conducted by the BRO for the purpose. However, the approval under the FCA has not been granted. Neeraj Kumar, DC, Lahaul-Spiti
After the face-off with China in the Galwan valley of Ladakh region last year, the need to strengthen the transportation and communication facilities along the China border in Indian territory is being felt.
The Union Government has entrusted the task of widening the Sumdo-Kaza-Gramphu road to the Border Roads Organisation. The survey has been completed by the BRO for the purpose.
It is a 209-km national highway (NH 505), which connects the Manali-Leh highway at Gramphu from the Manali side. From the Kinnaur side, the route of NH 505 starts at the Khab Sangam in Kinnaur district from NH 5. It runs along the Spiti valley through Kinnaur and enters Lahaul and Spiti district at Sumdo.
This road crosses through Kunzum pass (at height of 14,931-ft). Due to high altitude, the Kunzum pass receives heavy snow during winter and the Spiti valley remains cut off from Lahaul and Manali for more than six months every year. However, from the Kinnaur side, the Spiti valley remains connected for transportation even during winter.
Deputy Commissioner, Lahaul and Spiti, Neeraj Kumar said, “The process of widening the NH 505 is on. A survey has been conducted by the BRO for the purpose. However, approval under the FCA is pending for the project till now.”
“The district administration has requested the state government to take up the matter with the Union Government to remove this process of getting approval under the FCA for the construction of border roads, as it has been delaying execution of road projects. There should be a provision for quick permission to construct the border roads on the forest land,” he said.
The completion of this road project will reduce the travelling time for military access from Manali to Sumdo, near China border, considerably. Himachal shares its boundary with China in Kinnaur and Lahaul and Spiti districts.