Rohtang Pass the gateway to the tribal Lahaul-Spiti valley has opened up on Friday. The BRO has done a tremendous work as they have achieved the target before the deadline. BRO was under pressure of opening up the pass before the General Election Voting, which is on 7th May 2014 for Himachal Pradesh. On Saturday the HRTC buses plied on the Road between Manali- Keylong on trial basis. However tourist won’t be allowed to move up till Rohtang pass, as the road Clearance has to widen.
In yet another episode of tussle between the government and villagers of Manali, the government is planning to construct a ropeway between Palchan to Rohtang and on the other hand it’s say’s that the government shall appeal for the decision taken by the HC, as it is a matter of livelihood of many people in the valley. Which was also promised by the Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh during the Mandi by-election, but no concrete steps had been taken so far. Has the government become so dumb and foolish that if they construct a Ropeway between Palchan to Rohtang won’t it affect the livelihood of many?. The worst affected will be the taxi operator who ply on this road to Rohtang .
The opposition has already started revolting against the construction of ropeway. Lashing out at the Congress, Kullu BJP president Govind Thakur said that, if the government desires to construct a ropeway they should construct to places which are yet to be explored. He also suggested that Palchan to Brighu could be a better option. As it will create employment.
Manali villagers are facing tough times this year. As the order of HC are so stringent that it has almost created a frustration and agitation among people. Already the unauthorized shops between Kothi to Rohtang have been removed. Snow Scooters and All terrain Vehicle (ATV) have been banned. Taxi older than four years have been banned to ply between Kothi to Rohtang. Plastic packaging is banned and shall be effective from 1st September 2013. Now the ropeway episode is creating buzz and pinching the localities, there is lot of anger among people. Soon we may see a volcanic eruption against the Government.
The 8.8 horseshoe shaped tunnel which would connect the tribal area of Lahaul- Spiti and shall ensure connectivity throughout the year, has got delayed by one year, the tunnel which was expected to complete in 2015 shall now be completed in 2016
Chief engineer of Rohtang tunnel project, S P Sharma, while attending a meeting with Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh and Union surface transport minister Oscar Fernandes in Shimla said work was delayed due to hard rock strata, seepage of water and falling debris. He said the project may not be completed as proposed, but all efforts would be made to provide connectivity by 2016.
Currently Lahaul-Spiti is connected by Rohtang Pass. But in the winter due to heavy snow on the pass. The tribal area is cut off from the world for six months, which starts from November and ends in May.
The tunnel not only ensures connectivity throughout the year, but also will decrease the distance and time between Manali and Lahaul-Spiti . The main headquarter of Lahaul-Spiti,Keylong which is 85 kms from Manali the distance shall be decreased by 60kms. The time taken now is around 5 hours to keylong, without taking into account the long hours of traffic jams on the arduous route. The same distance would be covered in less than half-an-hour through the tunnel.
It’s time to rejoice for the people of Lahual Valley . As BRO has successfully completed clearing of snow on the Manali-Leh highway till Keylong, on Late Wednesday Night .Many people of the valley get stuck and cut off from the rest of the world for nearly four months. But now no long they will have to travel from helicopter for their basic and emergency needs.
But still BRO has not given green signal for the vehicular traffic. As it suggests that the Glacier in Rani Nallah may slide and weather condition also forecast more snow on the upper reaches of the Himalaya’s.
The road is also strategically important as it connects to Leh Ladakh, which is very close to China border. The convoy of the army is also waiting anxiously for clearing of the snow after Keylong. But still some Enthusiast crossed the pass with their Vehicle on the Thursday morning without caring for their lives. Many pedestrians were also spotted, crossing the pass.
The snow clearing had started on March 1st with Little pooja ceremony at Kothi village,BRO had accomplished its task within a record time. Last year too they had cleared the road on the same day. BRO officials were reported saying that this year too there is thick blanket of snow around 30feet in Rohtang Pass. Which brought smiles to the locals, as snow is main attraction in kullu Manali, and also it boost to their business.
Asking the state government to observe ‘ZERO TOLERANCE’ toward pollution in the vicinity of Rohtang Pass. High Court has directed slew measures, including removal of unauthorized Food Stalls and eateries.
High Court has ordered to remove unauthorized Food Stalls and eateries from Marhi & Rohtang Pass. Now, only people, having license and who meets, the term and conditions of Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) shall be allowed to put a stall or shop in these places. The order by HC is cheered by many local residents as pollution in the area is increasing alarmingly every year. Tourist will also be made aware by different hoarding and pamphlet distribution for not littering the place they halt. In addition, the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation, in association with the State Pollution Control Board will set different awareness campaign for environment awareness among the tourist and local residents.
More than 2000 vehicle go to Rohtang every day in the peak season. Also the convoy move’s from the same route. Because of this heavy traffic lots of carbon monoxide is released which results in soot accumulation. This makes snow turn black and even the rocks in the area turn black and dark grey.
Also, the forest is not left behind from pollution. Different private camps dump their garbage, here and there, which is spoiling the environment. No official are seen for inspecting these camps. It is only realized by the local residents who absorb this littering.
Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation shall also launch its mobile van to supply food and drinking items. This may be done due to vendors in Rohtang Charging very high, in some case even double the MRP. They are looting the tourist the worst. This gives bad impression to the tourist coming to Rohtang Pass.