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Manali-Leh highway closed after snowfall
Manali, Sep 23 (IANS) The highway that connects this Himachal Pradesh tourist resort with Leh in Jammu and Kashmir has been closed for traffic owing to heavy snow, officials said on Sunday.
"The traffic between Manali and Leh has been closed since Saturday," an official of the 38 Task Force of the General Reserve Engineering Force (GREF) told IANS.
GREF is a wing of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) that maintains crucial highways in the country.
The Manali-Leh highway winds its way through the Rohtang Pass (13,050 ft), Baralacha Pass (16,020 ft), Lachlungla Pass (16,620 ft) and Tanglangla (17,480 ft).
It is crucial to the movement of the armed forces and their supplies and wares to forward areas in Ladakh.
An official of the Himachal Road Transport Corporation said it would take a week to restart bus services between Manali via Keylong and Leh.
Meanwhile, the 13,050 feet high Rohtang Pass, the main tourist attraction and located 52 km from here, was closed.
Locals and tourists have been advised not to travel towards the higher reaches as chances of snow and rain are high till September 25, a government spokesperson told IANS here.
He said tourists and locals bound for the Rohtang Pass were not allowed to go beyond Marhi due to continuous snowfall that has resulted in snapping of road links leading to the pass.
Officials said state transport buses between Manali and Kaza have been temporarily suspended.