New Delhi. 26 April 2020. Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has opened Rohtang Pass (13,500 feet above sea level) today, more than three weeks in advance amid Covid-19 lockdown after clearing snow. It is the arterial road connecting Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh from rest of the country. The pass was opened on May 18, last year.
Himachal Pradesh Government had approached BRO to expedite the snow clearance to facilitate return of farmers for starting cultivation and movement of essential supplies and to bring relief materials to Lahaul Valley in wake of COVID-19.
BRO inducted hi-tech machinery from both Manali and Khoksar side. Snow blizzards, freezing temperatures and frequent triggering of avalanches at Rahala Fall, Beas Nallah and Rani Nallah did delay the operations but the snow clearance teams kept on working relentlessly day and night with all COVID-19 precautions to provide relief to the residents of Lahaul valley.
First convoy of vehicles carrying essential supplies and approximately 150 farmers moved to Lahual Valley today, guided by BRO thus officially opening the Rohtang pass this year. The news of Rohtang Pass being opened for traffic three weeks in advance as compared to previous year has brought relief amongst the local population. It will facilitate the Centre and State Governments to bring much needed relief material and medical supplies for the local population. Also, the agriculture activities which are the backbone of the District can now recommence.
Snow clearance operation for the opening of the pass is carried out every year as the pass remains snow bound for almost six months i.e. from mid-November to mid-May. It was kept open till December 12, 2019. The complete valley remains dependent on air maintenance for any external logistics/supplies during winters.
Meanwhile, to augment the Government’s efforts against COVID-19 all personnel of Border Roads Organisationhave collectively contributed One Crore Rupees to the PM CARES Fund over and above One Day Salary.