Mandi, April 25
The district administration of Lahaul and Spiti today allowed the movement of light vehicles on the Manali-Leh highway beyond Darcha. However, the movement of two-wheelers and trucks has not been allowed for safety reasons.
The BRO had restored the Manali-Leh highway for traffic on March 26 via Baralacha Pass but the district administration had not allowed civil traffic on this route so far. With this decision, the highway has been opened to tourists after nearly six months.
Tourism stakeholders of the Lahaul valley had been pressurising the district administration for the past few days to allow movement of the public on the highway, which will give an impetus to the tourism industry.
Deputy Commissioner Neeraj Kumar today issued a notification that traffic would be allowed on the Manali-Leh highway beyond Darcha via Baralacha Pass till 1 pm. Only light vehicles would be allowed to ply on this road. The two-wheelers and trucks would be allowed after some days.
Similarly, the district administration has allowed traffic movement towards Shinkula beyond Darcha till 1 pm. Only light vehicles would be allowed to ply beyond Darcha towards the Zanskar valley in the union territory of Ladakh via Shinkula.
Earlier, the administration was allowing the movement of the vehicles of only Zanskar valley residents via Shinkula from the Lahaul side.
With the opening of the Manali-Leh highway and Shinkula for the public, the tourists will be able to travel to Leh and Shinkula from the Manali side. The tourism stakeholders of Lahaul were delighted with the decision of the district administration, who are now expecting good business.
Baralacha Pass and Shinkula are major tourist destinations in Lahaul and Spiti. These high-mountain passes attract a large number of tourists during summer. As a result, the opening provides livelihood opportunities to the youths of this tribal district.