Sunday, March 12

A New Lease of Life for People of Kargil, Ladakh, Zojila Pass to Reopen with Grand Ceremony on March 15


Reported By: Akash Sharma

Last Updated: March 12, 2023, 14:26 IST

While it is crucial for locals, the Zojila Pass is a strategic pass for military movement too. (News 18 File Photo)

While it is crucial for locals, the Zojila Pass is a strategic pass for military movement too. (News 18 File Photo)

Experts suggest that the recent military developments, such as clashes in Yangtse and past India-China standoffs, had promoted authorities to keep the pass open for longer periods

The Zojila Pass, which connects Ladakh to the rest of the country via a road link, is set to reopen on March 15 after the shortest winter closure (on record) on January 6. To celebrate the reopening of the pass, top officers of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), including the Director General Border Roads (DGBR), will be present on site during the ceremony.

While it is crucial for locals, the Zojila Pass is a strategic pass for military movement too. Experts suggest that the recent military developments, such as clashes in Yangtse and past India-China standoffs, had promoted authorities to keep the pass open for longer periods.

While this year, it is an achievement for the BRO, this is not the first time when efforts were made to make the roads comfortable.

• In 2022, the pass was closed for 73 days, from January 5 to March 19

• In 2020-21, it was closed on December 31 and reopened on March 16

• In the previous year, it was closed on December 11, 2019 and reopened on March 15, 2020

• In 2018-19, the pass was closed on November 22 and reopened on May 5

• Similarly, in 2017-18, it was closed on December 10 and reopened on April 6, 2018

The reopening of the pass is a matter of celebration for the people of Kargil and Ladakh as it links to the rest of the country.

During the inaugural day of the road’s opening last year, 560 vehicles, including load carriers carrying fresh supplies, medicines, and other essential items, passed through the pass.

“The road stretch has several avalanche-prone locations, and BRO is taking precautionary measures to ensure the safety of commuters. Dedicated teams, comprising lookout men along with heavy-duty equipment, will be stationed at the identified points. BRO, along with the civil administration, will also make necessary arrangements for medical emergencies,” said a senior officer from BRO.

Project Vijayak and Project Beacon, located in Kargil and Srinagar, collaborated to clear the road and make the reopening possible. While the average time for the reopening of the pass is 150 days, this time, it has been accomplished in just 67 days.

An officer said, “It is a matter of celebration for the people of Kargil and Ladakh and for us here in the Border Road Organisation too. Our Karmyogis have made it possible. This is the shortest closure.”

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