Pass on the crucial 434 km - long Srinagar-Leh National Highway was
formally opened to traffic by Lt Gen JR Mukherjee, GOC 15 Corps.
Beacon Force of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) is responsible
for the clearance and maintenance of Srinagar-Leh highway and its
greatest bottleneck, Zojila, at an altitude of 3530 metres, which
ironically is the lowest motorable pass on the Great Himalayan
Zojila experiences vicious
winds due to the funnel effect and very heavy snowfall. There are
more than 60 dangerous avalanche sites on this road. Moreover,
Beacon boys have to brave blizzards, extreme wind, chill and very
risky situations as in the Kargil sector. Notwithstanding such
conditions, the brave jawans of BRO assisted by 120 civilians worked
tirelessly to open the pass in a record time.
view of the fact that by April end most supplies in Ladakh dwindle
to sustainable levels, this opening will prove to be a boon to all
Ladakhis. Ladakh remains cut off from the rest of the country from
November onwards when all passes connecting it across the Himalayas
are blocked by heavy snow. The opening would make available to
tourists a cheaper and more thrilling land route to explore upper
Kashmir and Ladakh.
óMaj B A Shahane