Friday, 1 November 2013

Winter sets in; Lahaul valley prepares to get disconnected from the world

Himachal Vacation Travel News
MANALI/ KEYLONG: First snowfall of winter season in most parts of Lahaul valley has rang the bells of fierce winter this year. Bringing down the mercury to sub zero temperatures, entire Miyar valley of Lahaul including Rohtang pass and Baralacha-la experienced heavy snowfall upto 45cm since Thursday early morning.
Fresh snowfall in Miyar valley of Lahaul in Himachal Pradesh

Rohtang pass received 15cm fresh snow but snow accumulation was 5 to 10cm in Miyar valley. District headquarter Keylong witnessed shower of some snowflakes but Baralacha-la received 45cm fresh snow. Lahaul-Spiti district administration called on a meeting of all departments to review the preparations before getting disconnected from rest of the country for next six months. Essential commodities like LPG, kerosene, medicines, fuel wood, diesel and ration are being stocked as heavy snowfall may block all roads leading to the district any time.
Lahaul-Spiti deputy commissioner Beer Singh Thakur said most of the commodities have been stocked while efforts are being made to stock remaining things as soon as possible. “Majority of portion of ration, fuel, firewood, seeds, LPG and medicines has arrived in valley. Remaining commodities like fertilizers are on their way. I had a meeting with officials of all departments on Thursday and reviewed preparations for winter months,” he said.
District administration has come into action after sudden snowfall. A detailed plan was made on how relief would be provided to the residents in case of heavy snowfall. Thakur said that some people were putting their lives in danger by driving across the Baralacha pass and they have decided to stop vehicular traffic on Keylong-Leh road after next spell of snowfall.
Thakur adds, “We have a little time to make all arrangements before getting disconnected with other parts of the state. Heavy snowfall may cut all road links for many months any time now onwards. Our priority is safety of the residents, their medical care, disaster management, ration and fuel. Orders have been passed to all departments to make all arrangements within few days.”
Neeraj Thakur from Shukto village of Miyar said, “It was snowing heavily in the early morning. We have not made all arrangements for the winter yet. It’s freezing cold here and white mantle has covered almost entire Lahaul.” Residents are done with all agricultural works. They will spend most of their time before tandoor by playing cards, weaving socks or by doing anything to spend time. The worse condition comes to them when someone falls ill and bad weather does not allow helicopter to enter the valley.
Fearing closure of roads, many residents have started migrating to Kullu and other parts of the state. Those who are outside Lahaul valley for necessary shopping are returning back home. Once snowfall will block are modes of surface transport, emergency helicopter service will be the only mode of transport for thousands of residents.

Rohtang may remain open till late December
MANALI: It is a big relief for 28 panchayats of Lahaul that Manali-Rohtang highway is not closed officially on October 31. Last year the highway was announced to be closed on the same day.
Border Roads Organization (BRO) has decided to keep the Manali-Rohtang-Keylong highway open as long as it is possible. BRO has launched various maintenance works including widening of the highway in Lahaul. Jawans will keep working even during the winter months. Organization has decided to clear the road after moderate snowfall. Opening of the road will provide extended time period to the Rohtang tunnel project in digging of the tunnel from Lahaul side.
38 Border Road Task Force (BRTF) commander Colonel Yogesh Nair said, “Depending on the weather conditions, we shall try to keep the road open as long as possible. We are carrying out road widening work and will try to work until heavy snowfall blocks the highway permanently for many months.”
District administration is responsible for announcement of the official closure of the road. Officially closing of the road means administration recommends not to drive on the road. People, however, can drive on road but will be responsible for any mishap due to inclement weather conditions or other reason. Generally BRO doesn’t clear snow form the highway after official closure of the road but its officials, who find difficulty working on the road due to high tourist flow in summers, will take advantage in the light snowfall and work until heavy snowfall makes working impossible.

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