KULLU: Considering the prevailing cold weather conditions and potential driving risks, the Manali-Leh national highway has been closed from November 20 onwards. As per the orders from Lahaul-Spiti and Ladakh administrations, Darcha-Sarchu, Darcha-Shinku La, and Gramphu-Kaza roads will be closed from Monday onwards.
The highway will reopen around May next year, after a gap of around 6 months, when the snow on the road starts melting.
An official of the Lahaul administration said action would be taken against those who violate the orders and travel on this route from November 20 onwards till the road reopens next year.
“Though the weather is clear these days, the decreasing temperature has led to icing on the road, which can lead to accidents. The orders have been issued as a measure to prevent accidents,” the official said.
Officials, though, said vehicles will be allowed from Manali to Darcha as long as the weather permits.
In a separate order, the UT of Ladakh said: “There is significant risk of vehicles getting stranded on the Manali-Leh route. Considering the prevailing cold weather conditions and reports of icing on roads, especially at high mountain passes, it has been decided to close the Leh-Manali road as there is a significant risk of travel disruptions and potential stranding of vehicles.”
The order states that from November 20 onwards, no vehicle will be allowed to ply from Upshi police check post, Leh, towards Darcha. The Ladakh administration asked the local police department to implement the orders strictly and advised tourists to avoid travelling to avoid inconvenience.
Every year, hundreds of people who get stranded on the Manali-Leh route are rescued by teams of Lahaul-Spiti police and the Border Roads Organization (BRO). The highway has already witnessed 2 spells of snowfall in October and November this year and was closed twice.