2017 is likely going to prove quite challenging to BRO, tasked with reopening of the crucial Manali – Leh Highway. This is due to record amount of snowfall occurring in Himachal and Ladakh, which has led to higher than normal snow accumulation on the highway.
Nevertheless, BRO (Border Roads Organization) is planning to do its best to reopen the highway, as soon as possible. In a statement issued today, BRO commander, Colonel Arvind Awasthi said, “Though it depends on weather conditions, we target to officially start the snow clearing operation from Manali-Leh highway till Sarchu from March 1.”
However, all this depends on the weather remaining favorable and due to the risks involved in clearing the highway under several feet of snow, BRO is in constant touch with Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE).
If there is high chance of avalanche or snowfall, then BRO is likely to delay its operations. Because avalanches and heavy snowfall can not only cover the already cleared road and block it, it can also lead to casualties of BRO workers and officials involved in the clearing operations.
Despite of heavy snowfall, BRO has managed to keep most of Lahaul Valley connected internally by road and is now planning to reconnect Udaipur with rest of Lahaul. For this purpose they have even flown in their personnel to Udaipur and Stingri.
Rahni Nullah, Beas Nullah, Chumbak Mor, Rakshi Dhank and the road leading to Baralacha La will prove the most challenging to BRO. And while Rohtang Pass is expected to reopen comparatively early, reopening of the highway till Leh will take longer, thanks to higher snow accumulation at Baralacha La pass.