Shimla, March 20: The work is now on to reopen the road that connects Manali in Himachal Pradesh with Leh in Jammu and Kashmir, after it remained closed for over three months due to heavy winter snow deposits, an official said here on Monday.
The road is crucial for the movement of armed forces to areas in Ladakh region that borders both China and Pakistan.
"The snow-clearing operation between Manali and Leh is on," a government spokesperson said.
He said according to the fresh report of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), the Manali-Leh road has been restored till Gulaba from Manali whereas the snow has been completely removed from Sisu to Jispa and Darcha.
A one-km stretch between Tandi and Dalang which was heavily damaged was restored but recent spell of snow delayed its opening from Sisu to Koksar, the spokesman said.
Likewise, the Udaipur road has been restored and the snow has been removed from Udaipur to Tindi and the section reopened for traffic.
According to the BRO, adequate manpower and machinery have been deployed at Manali, Koksar, Tandi, Udaipur and Stingri stations to restore the roads in Lahaul-Spiti district.
The work to open the Rohtang Pass from Koksar would be started by the end of this month. However, it would depend on the weather conditions.
The spokesperson said the work on restoration of roads to remotest habitations of the Lahaul Valley has almost been completed.
The entire 475-km stretch between Manali and Leh remains off-limits for over six months due to heavy snowfall. The road was closed in December last year.
The snow-clearing starts every year on March 1 and takes over two months to make the road pliable.
The Manali-Leh Highway that attracts a number of backpackers, especially foreign nationals, winds its way through the Rohtang Pass (13,050 ft), Baralacha Pass (16,020 ft), Lachlungla Pass (16,620 ft) and Tanglangla (17,480 ft).
Update: 20 March, 2017