Over 2,000 taxi drivers, who went off the road in protest a day earlier in this Himachal Pradesh tourist resort, ended their strike on Wednesday with the administration allowing the entry of tourist vehicles to the snow-marooned hills in upper Manali.
Hundreds of tourists were inconvenienced on Tuesday as the taxi union protested against the restriction on the entry of tourist vehicles to Marhi, some 34 km from here towards the Rohtang Pass.
“The administration has accepted our demand, so we have decided to call off the strike,” Raj Kumar Dogra, President of the Him-aanchal Taxi Operators Union, told IANS.
He said the taxis were now plying normally. However, the Rohtang Pass was shut for the tourists.
Earlier, the administration had allowed tourist taxis to reach till Gulaba, which is currently bereft of a snow cover and is some 26 km from here.
The striking taxi drivers were demanding that the tourist vehicles be allowed to reach up to Marhi, which is just eight km ahead of Gulaba, where the tourists could enjoy the snow.
Their plea was that it was only the snow that was attracting the tourists to Manali this season.
Auto operators and private mini bus operators of Manali had also joined the protest.
The picturesque Rohtang Pass, located in the Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas and 52 km from here, is a major attraction for both domestic and foreign tourists. Till mid June, it is covered in snow.
Official sources said currently vehicles carrying locals and government officials, who are bound for Lahaul-Spiti district, are allowed to ply across the Rohtang Pass, located at an altitude of 13,050 feet in Kullu.
The Rohtang Pass, which connects Manali with Leh in Jammu and Kashmir, remains closed for traffic for four months every year due to heavy snowfall. This year it was reopened for the traffic in April-end.
It also plays an important role in the movement of the armed forces to the forward areas in Ladakh.
The weather at the Rohtang Pass is harsh. A sudden drop in the temperature, even in summer, can trigger winter-like conditions.