Last Update: December 30, 2022, 21:13 IST
Officials said on Friday that tourists stranded in over 400 vehicles near the south portal of the Atal tunnel at Rohtang Pass have been rescued.
Vehicles were stuck due to slippery conditions following snowfall in the tunnel on the Manali-Leh highway and adjoining areas on Thursday.
Police teams from Keylong and Manali jointly launched a rescue operation, which took 10-12 hours and ended at 4 am on Friday and the vehicles left for their respective destinations, officials said.
However, the tourists said that they are thrilled to see the snow and enjoy it.
All the vehicles affected due to bad weather have crossed the South Portal safely. Lahaul and Spiti Deputy Commissioner Sumit Khimta said food arrangements have been made for the stranded tourists and locals.
Deputy Commissioner Kullu Ashutosh Garg has advised tourists to drive carefully.
A large number of tourists are thronging Kullu and Manali to celebrate the new year and the number of tourists is expected to increase after the snowfall.
Mukesh Thakur, president of the Manali Hoteliers’ Association, said traffic jams often occur due to too many vehicles on the road, but the occupancy of registered rooms is not commensurate with vehicle traffic and it seems many tourists are staying in unauthorized properties.
Dalhousie, Saloni and Churah areas of Chamba district and Pangi Valley received snowfall and remained cut off from the rest of the state.
Tourists also enjoyed snowfall at Kalpa in tribal Kinnaur district as well as Kufri, Narkanda and Kukumseri.
The local MeT office has predicted dry weather for December 31 and hoteliers in the state are preparing for the new year by offering special dinners, parties and contests to tourists.
Kothi received 15 cm of snow, Khadrala, Udaipur and Kalpa 5 cm, Pooh and Sangla 4 cm, Gondla, Shilaro and Kukumseri 3 cm.
Traffic was also disrupted on some routes in Shimla, Chamba, Kinnaur and Lahaul and Spiti, officials said.
The MeT office has predicted dry weather in the region till January 3 and forecast moderate to dense fog at isolated places over the plains and lower hills in the morning.
The statement said that there is a possibility of cold wave in isolated areas of plains and lower hills.
The minimum temperature dropped marginally in the state with Keylong in tribal Lahaul and Spiti being the coldest place at minus 6.3 degrees Celsius.
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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)