And the long wait of 6 months has started again. In an official statement released by the Lahaul-Spiti deputy commissioner H R Chauhan, Manali-Leh highway has been declared as closed for the season today.
The administration has asked both locals and tourists not to drive on Manali-Leh road. However, despite risk of sudden snowfall on Rohtang, the highway up to Lahaul valley is kept open. Police have removed its posts from Sarchu and Darcha while Indian Army too has closed its transit camps between Baralacha Pass and Leh.
Lahaul-Spiti deputy commissioner H R Chauhan said the Manali-Leh highway is closed officially for the safety of public. “People are advised not to drive towards Baralacha Pass. Snowfall may block the highway within minutes any time. The administration would not be responsible for any kind of mishap if travelers ignore the warning,” he said adding that police posts towards Leh have been shifted till next summer season.
Sources said that over a 100km stretch of road near Baralacha pass, Sarchu, Pang, Taglang la, Lachulung La and Morre Plains has started freezing as night temperature plunges to several degrees below freezing point. All water sources and moisture along the major length of highway has frozen. Border Roads Organization has also declared the highway unsafe for civilian movement. Still the organization has decided to work hard to keep Manali-Leh highway open up to Keylong to continue the excavation of Rohtang tunnel from Lahaul side.
Most of the passes including Rohtang, Baralacha and Taglang have received light snow several times since September this year. Many vehicles, mostly from Ladakh, continue to ply on the highway.
The highway has almost no population between Darcha (Lahaul) and Leh and also has no telephone network coverage. A moderate snowfall can trap the travellers for days, which makes this highway one of the most dangerous in the world. Manali sub-divisional magistrate Vinay Dhiman said, “We are requesting people, especially tourists, to stop unnecessarily movement on the highway.”
Source : Time Of India
As the above article from Times Of India suggests, road across Rohtang Pass is still open but it is just a matter of days that it too will be declared as closed for the season. Srinagar-Leh highway too is still operational but after the recent flooding in Jammu and Kashmir, it is severely damaged at several places. A safer way for anyone planning to travel to Leh in November is to fly. A wiser decision would of course be to postpone the plan for next year unless your plan is to visit Ladakh in Winter.