Reported By: Akash Sharma
Last Updated: March 15, 2023, 23:40 IST
Zojila Pass is situated at an altitude of 11,578 feet on the Srinagar-Leh highway. (File photo/PTI)
Zojila Pass is situated at an altitude of 11,578 feet on the Srinagar-Leh highway and closes in November but this year it was kept open till January 6 due to the hectic efforts of BRO
Stating that the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has set another record, Director General Border Roads Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhry on Wednesday said the early opening of the Zojila Pass, which connects Ladakh to the rest of the country via a road link, would save Rs 450 crore from the exchequer this year. The crucial ZojiLa pass is all set to open on Thursday (March 16) after getting delayed by a day from its initial schedule.
Zojila Pass is situated at an altitude of 11,578 feet on the Srinagar-Leh highway and closes in November but this year it was kept open till January 6 due to the hectic efforts of BRO. Nevertheless, it is opening early too, making it the shortest winter closure of the past years.
In an exclusive interview with CNN-News18, he said the opening of the pass would facilitate the people of Ladakh with road connectivity to the rest of the country and would also be much beneficial for the movement of the Armed forces.
“Zojila used to be closed for at least 160 days, but this time, we are opening it early. We are making a record. We also wanted to break mindsets,” said Lt Gen Chaudhary.
During the past few years, every subsequent year marks a big and new triumph for Zojila Pass.
• 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
He also talked about the efforts of BRO Karamyogis and several avalanche-prone points from Sonamarg to Zero point and zero point to Dras. The BRO chief also apprised about how alarm teams have been deployed at such points.
When asked about the benefits other than the connectivity to locals and the Armed forces, he said, “BRO opens 26-30 passes alongside the LAC. On all the passes, we have accelerated the opening process. We have some important passes that remain open throughout. Once this road is open, we are saving Rs 7 crore per day. In a season, just by opening Zojila early, we are able to save government exchequer to the tune of Rs 450 crore for Armed Forces only.”
“We want all-weather connectivity on this axis. We have two tunnels – Zojila and Z Morh. Construction work is going fast. These two tunnels should be ready by 2025. We will have all-weather connectivity then,” he added.
In wake of the situation with China in Ladakh, this road is very critical for the Indian Army and its operational preparedness. A lot of supplies to the forces pass through this road and help the movement of convoys to the region. The road also facilitates the supply of goods and supplies to Ladakh which is otherwise sent by air.
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.
Read all the Latest India News here