In a region mired in conflict, it takes all the more courage, and perseverance to be the voice of the voiceless, and to separate facts from propaganda. Help The Kashmir Monitor sustain so that we continue to be editorially independent. Remember, your contributions, however small they may be, matter to us.

Ladakh to get all-weather road connectivity soon

Leh, Nov 27: Ladakh region has got one more connecting axis with the rest of the country, that too an all-weather road giving more strategic advantage.

The cold desert will now be accessible by a double lanned motorable road from Manali in Himachal Pradesh via Zanskar of Kargil in Jammu and Kashmir, which cuts through the Himalayan Mountains.

The road will be an advantage strategically in the Kargil region.

Project Vijayak of Border Roads Organization has constructed the road network while cutting through tough mountains into a motorable road which will enhance interstate connectivity with the Himachal. The new road connectivity shall bring socio-economic benefits for the local population besides providing a strategic advantage for the country. This will be the third axis to Ladakh region after Srinagar-Leh and Manali via Leh routes

Giving details of the project, BRO officials said that the initial trekking path connected Jammu and Kashmir at Padum in Kargil’s Zanskar to Darcha in Lahaul valley of Himachal Pradesh through Shinkula pass 16600 fts in Lahaul valley has been widened and converted into a motorable road by the relentless efforts of the BRO men by using modern machinery.

Nimmu-Padam-Darcha axis is a strategically important road being developed by 126RCC and 81 RCC of 762 BRTF of Project Vijayak to extend the this connectivity to Leh.

Darcha lies 32 kms ahead of Keylong on the Manali-Leh highway. The distance from Darcha to Padum is 148 kms. Officials said connectivity between Padum and Darcha was achieved in October this year due to relentless efforts of BRO personnels when machinery and men from both sides met at Lakpan village, about 12 kms ahead of the Shinku La, achieving a significant milestone.Officlas said in the first phase of work, connectivity was planned between Padam to Shinkula- a total distance of 104 km. Col Rajeev Lohani Commander 762 BRTF pointed out that Inspite of the limited working season and difficult terrain, formation cutting was completed by October this year. The only task remaining was a 160 ft Bailey bridge near Purnia village at the junction of Phutkal and Tshrap River.

Col Rajeev Lohani added that with early snowfall this year and temperatures dipping down to -15°C, the construction of bridge was a major challenge, which was overcome by the determination of Bro personnel’s in Padam Sector.

Despite the challenges posed by low temperatures and rarified air reduce the efficiency of machines and material, rock faces and surface as high as 15 meters was cut, he said adding that these areas have no telecommunication facilities available making things even more difficult.

He said that 126 RCC successfully launched 160ft Bailey Bridge which now connects the villages of Char, Purnia, Kuru, Kurgiak with the mainland population in this sector. “This connectivity will go a long way to assist in socio-economic development of Zanskar and Kargil regions and BRO will always live upto it’s task and motto of connecting the remotest areas to the mainland,” Chief Engineer Vijayak, Brig Amit Sohal said and applauded the men working in these hostile and inhospitable conditions. He said that the Darcha-Padum link will be further improved to wider formation width in next summer when work will be resumed.

While referring to the construction of tunnel Chief Engineer said a proposal to construct a tunnel under the Shinku La pass is under consideration to provide all-weather connectivity between the two states amid hilly terrain.