NEW DELHI: The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has opened the strategically important Manali to Leh road on Monday, before the scheduled time.
Border Roads Organisation (BRO) said, “On 18 May 2020, Mr Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, MP, flagged in the first convoy of vehicles at Sarchu (boundary between Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh) carrying essential supplies, thus officially opening the Manali- Leh Axis this year.”
“BRO teams from Project Himank (Ladakh) and Project Deepak (Himachal Pradesh) successfully completed their tasks and the Manali – Leh axis was opened to traffic, three weeks ahead of schedule,” added BRO.
The work on 475 km Manali – Leh axis commenced on 19 Feb 2020, with an aim to simultaneously commence snow clearance on important passes.
This route is dotted with five important high altitudes passes namely Rohtang (14,216 ft), Baralachla (16,047 ft), Tanglangla (17,582 ft), Lachungla (16,616 ft) and Nakeela (16,170 ft). Rohtang pass is also significant for Lahaul Valley of the Himachal Pradesh.
This linking provided immediate relief to villages of Karnak, Samad, Sumdon and Ankung in particular and people of Lahual Spiti and Leh in general.
The strategically important Manali – Leh highway remains closed for about six months every winter and Ladakh remains cut off from rest of the country which makes the region dependent on supplies through the aerial route.
Ladakh is linked by only two land routes with the rest of India and these are Srinagar-Leh road and Manali-Leh road passing through Sarchu. Ladakh is strategically important as it shares disputed borders with Pakistan and China with areas like Kargil, Siachen, Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) falling in this area.
In its effort to link Ladakh ahead of the schedule BRO had opened 434 km long Srinagar – Leh Road by 15 Mar 2020.
Due to the high altitude and difficult terrain window for work in this area is short. A plan was made and latest hi-tech machinery was swiftly inducted and BRO teams worked relentlessly day and night, even during the COVID-19 Pandemic with adequate precautions.
The plan to open the road ahead of schedule started in January when a high level meeting was chaired by Dr. Ajay Kumar, Defence Secretary on 27 Jan 2020 where the need for early opening of roads to Leh was emphasized. This began with detailed coordination between officials of BRO, UT Governments of Ladakh and J&K and State Government of Himachal Pradesh. Also, Lt Governor of Ladakh R K Mathur chaired a meeting at HQ Directorate General Border Roads in New Delhi on 20 Feb 2020 and called upon Lt Gen Harpal Singh, DGBR, to expedite the opening of roads to Leh.
On 11 May 2020, Mr Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, Member of Parliament, approached Lt Gen Harpal Singh, DGBR, to expedite the snow clearance and facilitate return of people stranded in Kullu and Manali to Ladakh and also for the movement of essential supplies and relief material in the wake of COVID-19 as people/ essential supplies otherwise have to travel through Red Zones of Srinagar & Jammu. Only limited number of people could move due to massive screening requirements at these places.
MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal conveyed his gratitude to Lt Gen Harpal Singh, DGBR and applauded the tremendous efforts put in by BRO.
BRO this year has carried out Snow Clearance on 149 roads of length - 3965 Km with a view to ensure that lines of communication in remote high altitude areas remain open.