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Two tourists on way to Rohtang Tunnel die in road accident

Shimla: Two tourists from Rajasthan, who were on a trip to Kullu-Manali for travelling to Rohtang Tunnel, died while two others sustained injuries when their car skidded off the road and rolled down into a deep gorge on Thursday night.

Reports said the accident happened close to Dhoondi – the south portal of the Tunnel towards Manali side.

They were travelling in the private car having registration no RJ 32CA 3448. All had come from Rajasthan to visit Rohtang Tunnel.

A police spokesman said those who died on the spot included Mohit and Amit while other two –Ajit Rawat and Nikhil were injured and rushed to local hospital at Manali by the police.

The police said since there was no eyewitness when the vehicle met with an accident thus cause of the accident could not be known. One apprehension could be over speeding and inability of the driver to negotiate a sharp curve.

There have been four accidents at Rohtang Tunnel after it was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 3.

Three accidents had happened inside the tunnel within 72 hours as the tourists resorted to photography and started taking selfies after stopping their vehicles inside the tunnel.

Thereafter Deputy Commissioner Kullu Dr Rucha Verma has banned photography and any halting of vehicles inside the tunnel.

Director General of Police Sanjay Kundu said the police have done necessary deployments at the tunnel for security and also traffic management but there had been a huge rush of the tourists coming there and also crossing over to Lahaul-Spiti.

"We have submitted a proposal to the state government for sanctioning of the posts and providing other facilities, vehicles and wherewithals to the police. Right now, the police are managing the things with minimal support. There is a plan to establish a separate set-up for the tunnel, which is of high strategic importance," he said.

The local residents at Lahaul-Spiti have also been complaining about unmanageable traffic due to increased tourist arrivals. Lot of problems being created about pollution, garbage dumping in the open and throwing of empty liquor and water bottles.

Deputy Commissioner Lahaul-Spiti K K Saroch said, "steps were being taken to regulate the inflow of the tourists and make them aware how to protect the environment. We are also involving the local stakeholders to spread awareness about littering and other sanitation issues".

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