Srinagar-Leh highway reopens for traffic after two months

SRINAGAR: The strategic Srinagar-Leh highway was reopened for traffic on Sunday after remaining closed for nearly two months due to heavy snowfall, officials said.

This is the earliest reopening of the high mountain Zojila pass and also the minimum period of the closure of the road.

The highway was thrown open for traffic after remaining closed for 58 days due to snowfall, a Border Roads Organisation (BRO) spokesman said.

Vehicles carrying essential commodities were initially allowed to move towards Leh-Ladakh from Zojila pass, he said.

The spokesman said the pass was declared opened officially by DG of BRO Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhary.

The opening of the road was managed despite fresh snowfall in Zojila pass on Saturday, he added.

He said the road is important from the strategic point of view, being the only route between Kashmir and Ladakh.

This road is the lifeline for the survival and economic development of people of Ladakh as well as for the security forces, the spokesman said.

Snow clearance of Zojila pass is a big challenge owing to snow accumulation of 30-40 feet, threats of avalanches and inclement weather conditions, he said.

Due to the ongoing border dispute in eastern Ladakh, keeping Zojila pass open for an extended period was a strategic requirement, the spokesman said.

The BRO with grit and dedication to serve the nation, kept the axis trafficable till December 31 last year, he added.

The spokesman said the snow clearance was resumed on February 7 and a link-up with Drass was made on February 15.

“In recorded history, this has been the earliest opening of Zojila and also the minimum period of the closure of this axis,” he said.

This historic feat has been possible by the dedicated team of Project Beacon and Vijayak of the BRO, he added.