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Manali, May 18, 2020
Closed for over five months due to heavy snowfall, the Manali-Leh highway was reopened to motorists on Monday with the completion of the snow-clearing operations amid the coronavirus pandemic, officials said.
The route is strategic for the movement of the armed forces and their supplies and wares to the areas in Ladakh.
"Traffic between Manali and Leh was resumed. This time it was reopened much earlier," a Border Roads Organisation (BRO) official told IANS here.
He said the snow was 30-35 feet high in some stretches close to the Baralacha Pass, posing a big challenge to those clearing the snow.
The work to repair the entire 475-km stretch, which links the Himachal Pradesh tourist city with Leh in Jammu and Kashmir, was completed.
The Manali-Leh highway winds its way through the Rohtang Pass (13,050 feet), Baralacha Pass (16,020 feet), Lachlungla Pass (16,620 feet) and Tanglangla (17,480 feet).
The BRO maintains the strategic highways in the country.
The BRO's 'Project Deepak' is responsible for clearing snow on the 222-km Sarchu-Manali highway while 'Project Himank' takes care of the 253-km Leh-Sarchu highway.
The idyllic settings of the Himalayas draw an increasing number of backpackers, especially foreigners, for adventure activities like mountain biking, rock climbing and jungle trekking.