New year nightmare: Over 400 vehicles stranded due to snow in Manali; rescued
It is that time of the year again in Himachal Pradesh when a blanket of snow adds a glistening beauty to the hill state which becomes a winter wonderland. But while beautiful scenery and snowfall may be on the top of the travel list for many, it also makes for a sorry state of affair at ground level.
The past few days have seen thousands of toursists from the plains make their way up to Himachal to enjoy the snowy conditions. This has once again led to massive traffic jams in popular tourist destinations like Shimla, Manali and Lahaul Spiti. Serpentine lines of vehicles around the hilly roads have been widely reported, putting enormous pressure on the local administration. As many as 400 vehicles were recently stranded due to snowfall in Manali and Lahaul Spiti as well. News agency ANI quoted SDM Surender Thakur as saying that these vehicles were at the south portal of Rohtang Tunnel.
The tribal district of Lahault Spiti received the season's first snowfall recently and this has added to the tourist rush here. The IMD of the state has forecast snowfall in higher reaches of six districts of the state. Local reports also highlight that many tourists who had already entered the state for Christmas celebrations are now extending their stays. Hotels are at nearly full capacity which has resulted in parking shortages for vehicles in many of the popular tourist destinations here.
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Himachal Pradesh CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, meanwhile, has directed officials to ensure that tourists do not face any kind of trouble during their stay while still ensuring that law and order remains paramount.