Mandi, March 28
After the restoration of Baralacha Pass, the Border Roads Organisation has now intensified snow-clearing operation on the Manali-Leh highway.
Though the BRO had restored Baralacha Pass for single-lane traffic movement on March 26, the road is unfit for smooth traffic and requires to be widened.
Now, the BRO has engaged its workforce and machinery from both Sarchu and Darcha sides toward Baralacha Pass to widen this stretch for smooth flow of traffic. The highway is strategically important and it provides access to the Army to the Ladakh region close to China border from Himachal side.
Sources in the BRO revealed that the road stretch was expected to be widened within one week. However, the permission for the movement of civilian traffic on this highway from Lahaul side to Leh would be given by the administration of Lahaul and Spiti.
“During the winters, this highway remains closed for between 160 and 180 days in a year, but this time the BRO has opened the road in 117 days for single-lane traffic. The last convoy had moved on November 29 on this highway. The early opening is all the more creditable as this year, the region witnessed a heavier snowfall as compared to last year,” said the sources.
Deputy Commissioner, Lahaul and Spiti, Neeraj Kumar said: “Once the BRO widens this highway, we will inspect the road in view of public safety. If the road is found fit for normal traffic movement, a notification will be issued allowing civil traffic from Lahaul side to Leh.”
The tourism stakeholders are waiting desperately for the opening of this highway for civil traffic, which will give impetus to the sluggish tourism industry of Lahaul and Spiti.