Ladakh trip Day 5: 14th July – (Solang – Jispa: Still stuck near Rohtang pass)

We woke up by 5am and to our surprise the small restaurants at Marhi had started serving tea. We had the option to romanticize our nature’s call by either going to the forlorn ends of these mountains that promised absolute privacy or go to the standard toilets in restaurants overloaded with stool. We chose to leave as soon as possible and after freshening up. The only breakfast options we had was eggs or Maggi Noodles. We made a point to eat the breakfast as we will not get any food at Rohtang. We quickly got into our car. We managed to reach the top by 7am and we weren’t surprised to find that the problem wasn’t solved yet.

By afternoon we were beginning to get bored and we had seen two Army trucks entering the scene. We were 2 kms away from the scene of action, where the Army trucks, excavators with forklifts were trying to save the truck. In this process of saving the truck they were also digging the already tiny road. Another truck was sent twice downhill to fetch soil in order to fill the roads. When we realized that nothing was moving ahead, a few fellow travellers (a group of enterprising individuals from Unilever’s Mumbai office and a senior partner from a travel company) started to talk to the officials in charge of the situation – including the Army, BRO officials and Himachal Pradesh Police force. To worsen the situation we even got to know of the death of a truck driver which took place during the night. We were told that he could have succumbed to death due to lack of oxygen during the night. The food intake of these drivers were meagre. Thanks to my friend who happens to be a journalist, pulling the right strings with the right kind of people, all of us really forced the officials to take a stand. Either they should announce that the Pass will remain closed for a few days or they will make sure that the problem is solved by today. Upon further investigation we realized that the truck which was stuck belonged to an individual who is the sole supplier of oil and gas to the Indian Army in these regions. He was using his influence to save this truck as he did not have a proper insurance. While the officials were trying to save the truck the rest of the travellers suffered. Finally around 3pm they declared that it is really difficult to save the truck and travellers from both sides will be allowed to pass by tonight. There was a big sigh of relief on our long faces and we managed to move from Rohtang around 5pm. We were headed towards Jispa and this drive was really gruelling. Primarily because we spent a stressful day at the Pass. We stopped for tea at a quaint little place called Keylong. It took us more than 5 hours to reach Jispa from Rohtang and we checked into our hotel around 10:30pm.

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~ by rb on July 26, 2010.

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