Spiti cut off after snow blocks Kaza road, candidates finding it tough to campaign : The Tribune India

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Himachal bypoll

Spiti cut off after snow blocks Kaza road, candidates finding it tough to campaign

Spiti cut off after snow blocks Kaza road, candidates finding it tough to campaign

BJP candidate Ravi Thakur campaigns in the Spiti valley. Photo: Jai Kumar



Tribune News Service

Dipender Manta

Mandi, May 15

Candidates contesting the Lahaul and Spiti Assembly byelection are in a quandary due to the blockade of the Gramphu-Kaza highway between Gramphu and Losar because of heavy snowfall. They have been facing difficulties in reaching the Spiti valley to campaign for the elections.

Spiti is a remote valley having 13 gram panchayats of Losar, Hal, Khurik, Kibber, Kaza, Langcha, Demul, Lalung, Dhankar, Tabo, Gue, Kungri and Saganam. It shares border with China. Congress candidate Anuradha Rana, BJP nominee Ravi Thakur and Independent candidate Ram Lal Markanda all reside in the Lahaul valley. Not much time is left for the polling but they are finding it difficult to campaign in the entire district because of the blocked highway.

Independent candidate Ram Lal Markanda canvasses in Goharama panchayat of the Lahaul valley. Photo: Jai Kumar

At present, these candidates will either have to travel a long distance or travel by air to reach the Spiti valley for campaigning. The BRO is working relentlessly to clear snow between Gramphu and Losar to ensure the restoration of the Gramphu-Kaza highway for traffic movement between Lahaul and Spiti.

In the prevailing situation, these candidates have to travel around 800 km via the Atal Tunnel, Jalori Pass, Anni in Kullu, Rampur in Shimla and Nako and Maling in Kinnaur district to reach the Spiti valley. This arduous travel takes almost three days to complete. On May 10, Anuradha Rana took a helicopter to reach Kaza from Lahaul to attend a meeting of Vikramaditya Singh, Congress candidate from the Mandi parliamentary constituency. Since then, she has not been able to return to the Lahaul valley and is campaigning in the Spiti valley. She is waiting for the restoration of the Gramphu-Kaza highway to return to the Lahaul valley for campaigning.

Congress candidate Anuradha Rana addresses a public meeting in Spiti. Photo: Jai Kumar

BJP candidate Ravi Thakur travelled around 800 km to reach the Spiti valley on April 29. After campaigning for a few days in the Spiti valley, he returned to the Lahaul valley through road. Thakur said that due to the blocked Gramphu-Kaza highway, campaigning had become a challenging task and to cover the entire district within the time left before the elections. He is now again planning a trip to the Spiti valley by road to campaign.

Meanwhile, Markanda is feeling helpless in reaching the Spiti valley due to the blocked highway. He said that he was not in a position to hire a helicopter to reach Spiti for campaigning. The BRO should speed up the work to restore the highway, he added.

District Election Officer, Lahaul and Spiti, Rahul Kumar said, “I have asked BRO officials to restore the highway at the earliest. The BRO has set May 20 target to restore the highway for traffic.”

Three-day travel by alternative route

  • The candidates have to travel around 800 km via the Atal Tunnel, Jalori Pass, Anni in Kullu, Rampur in Shimla and Nako and Maling in Kinnaur district to reach the Spiti valley in Lahaul-Spiti
  • It takes almost three days to complete the journey
  • Recently, Congress candidate Anuradha Rana took a helicopter to reach Kaza from Lahaul
  • However, since then Anuradha has been unable to return to the Lahaul valley and is waiting for the restoration of the Gramphu-Kaza highway
  • Independent candidate Ram Lal Markanda is feeling helpless as he is not in a position to hire a helicopter to reach the Spiti valley for campaigning
  • BJP candidate Ravi Thakur travelled around 800 km to reach the Spiti valley on April 29

About The Author

The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

#Lahaul and Spiti #Mandi


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