Ladakh MP calls for early reopening of Leh-Manali road to speed up evacuation

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LEH: Senior BJP leader and Ladakh MP Tsering Namgyal on Monday sought early reopening of the Leh-Manali Highway to speed up the ongoing evacuation process of stranded Ladakhi passengers and stocking of essential commodities.

The 490-km Leh-Manali Highway is an alternative road linking the Union Territory with Himachal Pradesh.

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The Ladakh MP made the request in a letter to Chief Engineering (Project Deepak), Border Roads Organisation (BRO), Brigadier Manpreet Baghi. The copies of the letter were also sent to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Director General, BRO, Delhi for their intervention.

“The current COVID-19 pandemic situation has created new challenges to humanity as well as the administration and states in evacuation of their stranded people across the country. Ladakh, being the northern most region of India with wide-ranging geographical and topographic challenges, is managing its evacuation process only via the 434-km Srinagar-Leh Road which is the only transportation means for the region at present,” Namgyal said.

He said due to a constraint of accommodation, time and screening facilities at Jammu, Srinagar, Sonamarg and en route up to Leh, the Ladakh administration and both the Hill Councils of Ladakh (Kargil and Leh) are facing difficulties in mobilising more stranded passengers via the Jammu-Srinagar-Leh Road.

To double the volume of the evacuation process, the MP requested Brigadier Baghi to speed up the ongoing snow clearance operation at the Manali-Leh Road on a war footing.

He said such a move would not only help the administrations of both Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh in the evacuation of stranded passengers from both sides, but will also help in stocking and supplying essential supplies for civilians and Army.

He also requested for early snow clearance work from Darcha to Lungnak of Zanskar via Penstsela pass so that the local residents who are stranded across the country can commute via this short and alternative road to reach their home at the earliest.