BORDER ROADS THROWS OPEN ROHTANG PASS THREE WEEKS IN ADVANCE AMID COVID - 2019 LOCKDOWN
The Snow clearance operation for the opening of Rohtang Pass (13,500 ft) is carried out every year as the pass remains snow bound for almost six months i.e from mid Nov to mid May, thus isolating Lahaul & Spiti District from rest of the country. Last year the Rohtang pass was kept open till 12th of Dec 2019. The complete valley remains dependent on air maintenance for any external logistics / supplies during winters.
On 11th Apr Dr Ram Lal Markanda, Minister for Agriculture and Tribal Development and Secretary Food and Civil Supplies of Himachal Pradesh approached Lt Gen Harpal Singh, DG Border Roads to expedite the snow clearance to facilitate return of farmers to start cultivation and movement of essential supplies & relief material 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.
On 25 Apr 2020 Dr Markanda led the first convoy of vehicles carrying essential supplies and approx 150 farmers to Lahual Valley 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 Government 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. Dr Markanda conveyed his gratitude to Lt Gen Harpal Singh and applauded the tremendous efforts put in by Project Deepak. Once again Border Roads Organisation has lived up to its motto “Shramen Sarvam Sadhyam”.
The ongoing work on the 8.8 Km long Atal Tunnel below the Rohtang Pass was also stalled when the lockdown came into force. Since the construction of Tunnel is at a critical stage, proactive measures were taken to recommence the work in active coordination with the State Govt. Works on all critical activities ot Atal Tunnel have commenced with all necessary COVID-19 precautions in place to ensure its completion in Sep 2020 as planned.
To augment the Governments efforts against COVID-19 all personnel of Border Roads Organisation have collectively contributed One Crore to the PM CARES Fund over and above One Day Salary.