Editor’s note: The global COVID-19 crisis has left each one of us deeply affected and we want to help. Burda Media India has organised a fundraising campaign to #FightBackWithTesting and donating RT-PCR test kits to the worst-affected areas in India, which will be secured from our testing partner Mylab Discovery Solutions. You can help these kits reach many more by donating for the cause or by adopting a kit. Click here to join the fight.
The Rohtang Pass of Himachal Pradesh has been opened three weeks earlier than the usual time to provide relief material to people of Lahaul and Spiti. By Tanvi Jain
In order to facilitate the transfer of essential goods and relief material to Lahaul and Spiti, the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), has opened the Rohtang pass three weeks before the usual time, despite the lockdown.
The stretch usually remains blocked in winter from November to May, due to snowfall and is the only route that connects Leh and Manali. Like every year, this year also the snow clearance started at its normal time in February but was fast-tracked over Himachal Government’s request of early clearance. The officials, however, ensured all safety protocols are maintained during the operation.
“BRO opens Rohtang Pass on 25 Apr 2020 amid COVID-19 pandemic. On specific request to Lt Gen Harpal Singh, DG Border Roads by Dr Markanda, HP Agriculture & Tribal Development Minister for expediting snow clearance to facilitate the movement of farmers and essential commodities to Lahaul Valley, BRO opened the Rohtang Pass 3 weeks ahead of the previous year,” BRO said in a statement on its official website.
The Rohtang Pass situated at a height of 13,500 feet in eastern Pir Panjal Himalayan range, witnesses at least 30 to 40 feet of snow every year. During its shutdown period of six months, all the movements are restricted in the area. This route holds significance for the army as not only it is used to stock food, ration, ammunition, and etc., for winter in Siachen and other areas in Ladakh, but is also crucial because all major troop movements across Siachen, LAC, and other areas of Ladakh are carried via this route.
Moreover, the Government is also reportedly building a tunnel under the Rohtang Pass to ensure movement throughout the year. Reports further suggest that the BRO has donated INR 1 crore to PM CARES Fund, along with their one–day salary, to contribute in the fight against COVID-19.