Unexpected water ingress, clinic debris flows from the cavity, and lastly the stormy weather conditions prevailing at the North Portal of the Rohtang Tunnel have hit the construction works badly. Within last five months, it’s for the third time that the construction work of the tunnel is affected.
The Border Roads Organization has finally decided to stop the work at the North Portal until the weather clears, which looks like a distant possibility in near future. With winters setting in and Western Disturbances on a roll in the state, work from the North Portal might not start until March-April next year.
The South Portal of the Rohtang Tunnel is near Palchan, 10 km north of Manali to the north of Dhundi across the Beas River. North Portal of the tunnel meets the existing National Highway-21 near Teling on the Gramphoo-Koksar road.
From Manali side, excavation work of 2 kilometers has been done whereas from the Lahaul side, excavation work of 1400 meters has been accomplished so far. Once this tunnel is constructed, it could serve as a lifeline not only for the Lahaul Valley but for the Tourism Industry in Himachal Pradesh.
The tunnel work started in the year 2010 and since then there have been several problems at both the ends of the tunnel. Probably working beneath the Rohtang Pass is not that easy.
Moderate to heavy snowfall in Himachal Pradesh has badly affected transportation, communication system. With more snowfall predicted in the coming days, there is no respite from the intense cold conditions in Himachal Pradesh. Manali-Keylong road is already blocked and no vehicle is allowed to go beyond Kothi and Koksar.