The highway that connects Manali in Himachal Pradesh with Leh has been partially reopened for traffic after remaining shut for more than five months owing to heavy snow, an official said on Monday.
“The traffic between Manali and Leh has been restored for light vehicles. However, the movement of two-wheelers and trucks would be allowed later when the road be found fit,” an official from the 38 Task Force of the General Reserve Engineering Force (GREF) told IANS.
GREF is a wing of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) that maintains crucial highways in the country. He said work to repair the entire 475-km stretch is on.
A notification by Deputy Commissioner Neeraj Kumar said that the traffic would be allowed on the Manali-Leh beyond Darcha towards Leh via Baralacha Pass every day till 1 p.m.
The Manali-Leh highway winds its way through the Baralacha Pass (16,020 ft), Lachlungla Pass (16,620 ft) and Tanglangla (17,480 ft).
It is crucial for the movement of the armed forces and their supplies and wares to forward areas in Ladakh.
An official of the Himachal Road Transport Corporation in state capital Shimla said it would take 10-15 days to restart bus services between Manali via Keylong and Leh.
Meanwhile, the 13,050 feet high Rohtang Pass, the main tourist attraction, located 52 km from here, is yet to be opened for the tourists as the snow-clearance work is on.
The idyllic and pastoral settings of the Himalayas have been drawing an increasing number of backpackers, especially foreigners, for adventure related activities like mountain biking, rock-climbing and cross-jungle trekking.