NEW DELHI: At a time when the troops in Ladakh are in a standoff mode to deal with the Chinese PLA along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has opened the strategically important ZojiLa Pass on Srinagar-Kargil-Leh road on Wednesday.
The BRO has cut down the blockage duration by more than a month.
The BRO said: “The Pass was opened after the closure of 110 days this year, as compared to an average of 150 days in previous years. The renewed focus on infrastructure development in the border areas mandated requirement of keeping the closure of ZojiLa Pass to the minimum.”
Factoring the important logistics needs, the ZojiLa Pass was kept open till December 31, 2020, and snow clearance operations recommenced on February 7, 2021, by Projects Beacon and Vijayak of the BRO.
The Pass normally closes by mid-November every year, with the onset of winters when the temperatures dip to subzero degrees and opens only by end of April the next year.
Located at a height of 11,650 feet, Zojila is a strategic pass that provides the vital link between Kashmir Valley and Ladakh.
Ladakh shares disputed borders with Pakistan and China with areas such as Kargil, Siachen, Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) falling in this area. Other than air routes, Ladakh is linked by only two land routes with the rest of India and these are 434 km Srinagar-Leh road and 475 km Manali-Leh road passing through Sarchu.
Commending the officials of Project Beacon and Vijayak in achieving this feat, Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhry, the Director General Border Roads, said that opening of ZojiLa Pass, on the auspicious occasion of Ram Navami and in the holy month of Ramzan was a gift for people of Ladakh.
“It will facilitate the availability of essential goods and supplies for the people of Ladakh, who are dependent on Air Route due to closure of the Pass and also ease the movement of Army convoys.”
The plan was to begin the snow clearing exercise much early this year. “However, continuous bad weather conditions, poor visibility, and heavy snowfall resulted in triggering of avalanches, thus delaying the opening,” BRO said.
Finally, Projects Beacon and Vijayak reestablished the connectivity on April 21 and 10 Civil Trucks, carrying essential fresh supplies moved across the ZojiLa Pass towards Kargil.