Atal tunnel snowed in, massive snarls on Manali NH : The Tribune India

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Atal tunnel snowed in, massive snarls on Manali NH

Atal tunnel snowed in, massive snarls on Manali NH

Chock-a-block: Long queues of vehicles on a road near Manali on Christmas eve on Sunday. ANI

Tribune News Service

Dipender Manta

Mandi, December 24

As a large number of tourists flocked hill stations in Himachal Pradesh for Christmas and New Year celebrations, massive traffic bottlenecks were witnessed today beyond Manali towards Sissu in Lahaul valley.

A long traffic jam was also witnessed on the Bhuntar road as visitors headed to Kasol and Manikaran to celebrate Christmas. Vehicles were also seen moving in serpentine queues towards Banjar and Sainj valley of Kullu district, where the police were struggling to streamline the traffic movement.

Kullu SP Sakshi Verma said additional police force had been deployed to regulate traffic on the Manali-Leh highway. “The major bottlenecks are between Manali and Sissu, Bhuntar and Manikaran, and Sainj and Banjar valley of Kullu district.”

The last few days have seen a significant increase in tourist vehicles from other states, as per the Tourism Department data. On Thursday, 900 tourist vehicles crossed Manali from Kullu, while on Friday and Saturday the number of such vehicles rose to 2,000 vehicles. Today, the number is expected to cross 3,000 vehicles.

Tourists Raj Kumar and Suresh Agarwal of Delhi were stuck for almost half an hour at Palchan, near Sissu, as the heavy rush made the movement sluggish. Despite the bottlenecks, most tourists were ecstatic to see the Atal tunnel and Sissu areas covered under a thick blanket of snow.

Hoteliers of Kullu-Manali, who had faced a sharp decline in arrivals after the rain fury in July, were also elated as hotel room occupancy surged beyond 80 per cent for the year-end festivity.

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#Atal Tunnel #Lahaul and Spiti #Manali #Mandi

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