Snowfall forces closure of Manali-Leh highway

October 19th, 2009 - 11:21 am ICT by IANS  

Shimla, Oct 19 (IANS) The strategic Manali-Leh National Highway 21 was Monday temporarily closed to vehicular traffic following heavy snowfall at high altitudes along the highway.
The 475-km highway connects Manali in Himachal Pradesh and Leh in Jammu and Kashmir.

As authorities announced the closure of the highway, men from the General Reserve Engineering Force (GREF) have been deployed to clear snow on the highway. GREF is a wing of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) that maintains the highway.

GREF officials said Lachlungla Pass (16,620 feet) and Tanglangla (17,480 feet) located on the Manali-Leh highway had heavy snowfall Sunday evening.

The BRO has already issued an advisory to motorists that travel on the highway after Oct 31 would be risky as chances of heavy snowfall will increase.

The highway plays an important role in the movement of the armed forces to areas in Ladakh bordering China.

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