Himachal awakens to tourists’ plight, issues advisory
Shimla, June 26
Congress government led by Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu in Himachal Pradesh has sprung into action as it aims to ensure the safety thousands of tourists and 5,000 stranded tourist vehicles. In a press statement released by R.S. Bali, Chairman of the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC), the State tourism department has issued an advisory for tourists to travel within the State with caution due to the monsoon and intermittent rains.
The Chairman stated that the department would advise tourists to keep the GPS location of their mobile phones on, follow guided routes, stay updated on weather conditions, and drive slowly, particularly during heavy mist when visibility is poor. He emphasized the importance of avoiding rash driving and instead enjoying the journey while respecting the natural beauty of the hilly regions.
Addressing rumors circulating on social media platforms about traffic jams between Mandi and Pandoh on the Manali-Kiratpur four-lane road due to landslides, the Chairman clarified that such incidents are common during the rainy season in hilly areas, especially given the ongoing road construction and widening projects. He reassured the public that efforts to clear debris were underway on an urgent basis, and traffic was being diverted through the Chail-chowk-Gohar route to reach Kullu, albeit with some delays.
Additionally, the Kamaand (Kandi-Katola) road has been made one-way for vehicles coming from the Kullu side, ensuring the movement of traffic. The Chairman dispelled rumors of tourists being stranded for extended periods, urging those spreading false information to avoid causing unnecessary panic.
According to reports from Mandi, light vehicles were being permitted to move, and sufficient manpower and machinery were deployed to clear the road, allowing heavy and other vehicles to pass soon. The Chairman emphasized that the situation in the state is normal, with schools, educational institutions, offices, and markets operating as usual, and there is no need for alarm.
It is important to note that the Meteorological Office issued an Orange alert for the past two days. However, the district administrations of Mandi and Kullu allowed weekend traffic to proceed to Rohtang tunnel and snow points up to Keylong. Despite the initial monsoon rainfall, no specific tourist warnings were issued. Several locations along NH-3 experienced disruptions such as rolling boulders, landslides, mudslides, and flash floods. The heavy to very heavy rainfall severely affected most link roads and bypasses.
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