Kullu: As many as 234 persons and nine vehicles stranded in strategic Manali-Leh NH have been rescued by Border Road Organisation (BRO) and Lahaul-Spiti police.

The entire rescue operation was completed within 35 hours amid minus 25°C temperatures in Baralacha.

On April 20, as many as 27 snow trucks and three light vehicles enroute to Leh were trapped in the vicinity of Baralacha Pass due to sudden snowfall. A total of 87 people were on board. The BRO dispatched two rescue teams from Sarchu and Jingjingbar.

On April 20 and 21, as many as 147 persons were safely brought to Darcha. Most of them were labourers from Nepal and Jharkhand. While on April 22, around 87 persons were rescued.

According to the reports, the rescue operation had to be postponed twice due to heavy snowfall and snowstorms.

The commander of BRO 38 Task Force, Colonel Uma Shankar, said that the entire rescue operation was carried out through satellite phones.

“There is no phone facility in this area. Along with providing food to all the rescued people at the BRO camp located in Jingjingbar, medical treatment has also been provided” he said.

He said that after the restoration of the Manali-Leh route, many times it has been disrupted by snowfall. Around 220 cm of snowfall has occurred around Baralacha within three days.

Deputy Commissioner Lahaul-Spiti Pankaj Rai said that the administration has made arrangements for all the necessary things including lodging, food, first aid for all people.

Meanwhile heavy snowfall continued in isolated places of Lahaul-Spiti and Kullu districts on Thursday.

Snowfall and rainfall in isolated places of higher reaches is very likely to continue till April 24 after which the weather will remain clear.

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Navneet Rathore is a Shimla based journalist having two-years of experience in the field of journalism. Navneet is a post-graduate in Journalism and Mass Communications from Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla and is specialised in crime, education, health, environment, agriculture and Horticulture beats.