New Delhi: In a bid to restore connectivity between Kashmir and Ladakh, the Himalayan Zojila Pass was opened on Thursday, 68 days after it was closed in January.
Zojila Pass, also known as ‘The Mountain Pass of Blizzards’, is located on the Srinagar-Kargil-Leh road (NH-1) at a height of 11,650 ft in the Dras region.
“We were able to open the pass in a record 68 days. For the past three years, we have been breaking our own records,” Hindustan Times quoted Border Roads Organisation (BRO) director general Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhary as saying.
“The trial movement [across Zojila] has been conducted successfully and the decision to open the road for civil traffic will be taken by the civil administration,” Chaudhary added.
He further said that early opening of Zojila and Razdan Passes will help the augmentation of the supply of essential goods and services for the people of Ladakh and Gurez Valley.
Earlier in 2021, the Zojila pass was opened after a 110-day closure and it remained closed for 73 days in 2022.
According to public relations officer (defence) Lt Col Emron Musavi, there has been a strategic requirement of minimising the closure period during winter with a renewed focus on infrastructure and boosting connectivity to the northern borders.
Musavi said BRO accordingly ensured the Zojila pass was kept open for traffic till as late as January 6, creating a new record.
“The advantage accrued by keeping the pass open till this late can be assessed by the fact that almost 13,500 vehicles crossed it between the end of November 2022 and January 6, 2023,” Musavi said.
He further added that dry weather in the first week of February accelerated snow clearance and widening of the road surface was carried out. “Trial convoys of vehicles successfully passed through Zojila on March 16… thereby ensuring it remained closed for only 68 days.”