Tribune News Service
Mandi, January 4
Heavy snowfall affected normal life in Lahaul and Spiti district today, bringing traffic movement to a halt. The Lahaul and Spiti administration prohibited traffic movement towards the Lahaul valley beyond the Atal Tunnel from Manali. The Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) stopped its bus service between Kullu and Keylong via the Atal Tunnel and other local routes.
The Lahaul and Spiti SP said that only 4x4 vehicles would be allowed to move between Manali and Keylong via the Atal Tunnel and within the district in emergency.
Mangal Menepa, Regional Manager of the HRTC depot at Keylong, said eight routes at Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti and 12 in the Pangi region of Chamba were affected due to the fresh spell of snowfall.
The Spiti region of the district was reeling under darkness because power supply lines were damaged due to heavy snowfall. Additional District Magistrate, Kaza, Mohan Dutt Sharma said, “The entire Spiti region was reeling under darkness on Tuesday because heavy snowfall in higher reaches disrupted power supply. The Spiti region has been cut off from road connectivity from the Kinnaur side, which is the only access to Spiti during the winter”. He added that as soon as weather becomes normal, the snow clearance operation would be started to restore roads.
Lahaul and Spiti DC Neeraj Kumar said that people had been advised to avoid journeying toward the Lahaul valley from Manali because of heavy snowfall near the Atal Tunnel and in its nearby places. However, tourists and hoteliers in Manali town were happy, as they were desperately waiting for fresh snowfall. Manali town received snowflakes but snow did not accumulate on the ground. Nearby places of Manali such as the Solang valley and Gulaba also received snowfall.
A large number of tourists are camping in Manali since December 31 for the Winter Carnival, which will conclude on January 6. Hoteliers are expecting good business in the coming days as snowfall is a major attraction for tourists.
In the lower region of Mandi and Kullu districts, it rained throughout the day while higher reaches of Mandi such as the Prashar lake, Shikari Devi and Kamrunag areas received fresh snowfall. As many as 18 roads were blocked, while 59 power transformers were damaged due to snowfall in Mandi.
As many as around 50 tourists were rescued by the police from Prashar Lake area today, who had been stranded due to sudden snowfall.
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