Manali-Leh highway partially reopened



Manali: The strategic national highway that connects this town in Himachal Pradesh to Leh in Jammu and Kashmir has been partially reopened after it was shut due to landslides at various points last week, an official said Tuesday.

"The traffic on the entire 475-km stretch between Manali and Leh couldn't be restored as work is still on to clear the debris," S K Doon of the General Reserve Engineering Force, a wing of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), said.

Doon, however, said 222-km stretch between Manali and Sarchu has been made motorable. "Now the work is on to reopen the stretch between Sarchu and Leh," he added.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Monday directed the BRO to clear the Manali-Leh highway within three days.

The NH-21 is one of the two road links between Leh and other parts of the country and its closure is hampering relief operations in flood-hit areas.

A cloudburst occurred at Choglamsar village, which is situated above Leh town Friday, causing flash floods and mudslides that washed away government offices, paramilitary camps and residential homes.

The toll in the devastating flash floods has risen to 165. As many as 81 foreign tourists were rescued by the Indian Air Force from Zanskar Valley of Ladakh region.

IANS