Rohtang Pass, a connecting road between Manali and Keylong, is likely to re-open in April-May as General Reserve Engineering Force official said snow clearing work on 115-km road stretch will take atleast two months.
Col. Yogesh Nair, commander of the 38 Task Force of GREF said that Rohtang Pass has received record snowfall this year and the snow-clearing operation is a tough task. The road stretch near Rohtang Pass is covered under 100 to 120 feet of snow which is 40 to 50 feet more than normal snow upto 70 to 80 feet.
Nair further stated that they will try to reopen the Manali-Keylong highway by April-end. Rohtang Pass is the connecting road to Keylong from Manali in Kullu district and Lahaul region remains cut-off from the country for more than five months due to heavy snowfall in the area. This time, Rohtang shut down in mid-December and since then, people of the Lahaul region have been holed up in their region.
GREF has deployed more than 250 personnel and labourers to open the stretch from Manali-Rohtang-Keylong highway. The highway is strategically important for it connects to the forward areas of Jammu and Kashmir’s Ladakh region along the borders with China and Pakistan. The GREF is working in snowy and arctic climatic conditions and Oxygen near the Rohtang Pass is minimal and high velocity winds blow every afternoon here.