Srinagar-Leh NH opened after 73 days

Srinagar, March 19 : After closure for nearly three months of winter, the strategic Srinagar-Leh national highway was opened for vehicular traffic by the Border Road Organization (BRO) on Saturday. The 434 kilometer long highway serves as an important link between the people of Ladakh and Kashmir. The highway traverses through the Himalayas at Zojila pass and then the Zanskar Mountain Range at Fatula to enter Ladakh. The strategic highway remained shut for 73 days. The Beacon cleared the snow at Zojila pass in a record time to ensure the road is through for vehicular traffic. “This pass remains closed mostly for about six months. But, last year, we decided to keep this pass closed for a minimum time. We kept it closed for about 110 days only last year and there were many benefits. This year, we re-opened the road in 73 days,” Director General of Beacon Lieutenant General Rajeev Chaudhary said at Zojila. He said the highway was kept open till January 4 this year, after which it was closed for traffic following heavy snowfall and has now been re-opened in record time. “This has been a huge achievement and both Project beacon and Project Vijayak have done it. This has many benefits strategically as well as from the socio-economic angle. From the strategic point of view, maintenance, including amm tion, logistics or anything else, for our troops deployed in Ladakh will reach in time now…. This will increase trade and commerce there and people are very happy,” he said. Chaudhary said a study was conducted which found that the Government of India can save about Rupees seven crore per day by opening the road sooner. “We saved about Rs 400 crore (the money spent on air transportation) by reopening the road sooner,” he said. Zojila, located at 11,500 feet, is the toughest pass in the country due to its harsh weather conditions, treacherous and accident-prone mountain range. MJR RKM

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