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Himachal MLA seeks funds for highway upkeep

Posted on Feb 26 2014 | IANS

Shimla, Feb 26 : Himachal Pradesh legislator Ravi Thakur Wednesday asked the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) to sanction funds for the maintenance of the highway that passes through the state's Lahaul-Spiti district, close to China border.

In a missive to BRO Director General Lt. Gen. A.T. Parnaik, he said ever since the highway from Sumdoh to Koksar was handed over to the BRO from the state's public works department (PWD), the funds for its maintenance have not been released by the BRO, an inter-services organisation under the defence ministry.

Thakur, who is also vice-chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, sought timely release of the funds so that the work could progress.

Sumdoh is in Spiti sub-division, 330 km from here, while Koksar links with the Manali-Leh highway near the Rohtang Pass.

The climatic conditions of Lahaul and Spiti are harsh as much of the land falls under a cold desert where temperature drops to as low as minus 25 degrees Celsius during winter.

PWD officials said many interior roads in the district remain cut off for over three months owing to heavy snowfall. The district cannot be accessed by road from December onwards, making life really tough for the locals.

The Lahaul Valley, comprising more than two dozen small, scattered villages, remains snow bound with little road connectivity.

The Lahaulis, as the local people are called, are mostly farmers and grow mainly peas and potatoes.

The valley's seed potatoes are in great demand in states like West Bengal, Punjab, Bihar and Karnataka.

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