With agricultural relaxations in parts of Himachal Pradesh amidst Covid-19 pandemic, Agriculture Minister Ram Lal Markanda on Saturday resumed bus services for the Lahaul-Spiti farmers stuck in Kullu.
The special vehicle facility began at 6 am in the morning for the passengers who applied online for the same. The decision came after the minister, along with concerned Border Roads Organisation (BRO) authorities, inspected the Manali-Rohtang Road and permitted the vehicles till Rahaninala. This officially opened Rohtang Pass, the gateway to Lahaul and Spiti. The list was prepared by the helicopter liaison officers and the passengers are being sent off in different phases according to the area division of Lahaul-Spiti.
Lahaul is famous for its rich production of potatoes, green peas, cauliflower and broccoli while Spiti majorly produces potatoes and black peas. The district remains snowbound for almost six months from mid-November to mid-May, the duration in which it is separated from the rest of the country.
On April 11, the Himachal Pradesh government approached the Ministry of Defence and the Director General (Border Roads) to expedite the snow clearance to facilitate the return of farmers to start cultivation and movement of essential supplies and relief material to the Lahaul Valley in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.
“The Rohtang Pass being opened three weeks ahead has brought relief among the locals,” said BRO officer and stated that it would facilitate the transport of the relief and medical supplies.
Dr Richa Verma, Deputy Commissioner Kullu on Tuesday had elaborated on the farmer specific relaxations where all the agricultural equipment shops were allowed to remain open for three days in a week from 10 am to 1 pm. The trading of farmers crops will remain uninterrupted and therefore all the agencies and sabzi-mandis will continue their business. Meanwhile, Kullu district has also given permission to the farmers for the ongoing sowing season.
(Inputs taken from IANS)