Snow-covered Zojila, Razdan passes reopened by BRO
Led by a spirited team of engineers and ground workers the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) this year has managed to throw open the mighty Zojila Pass in a record number of 68 days.
The strategic Zojila Pass is located on the Srinagar-Kargil-Leh road (NH-1) at a height of 11,650 feet and provides a vital link between Kashmir Valley and Ladakh region.
Likewise, Razdan Pass which provides the only road connectivity between the Gurez Sector and the Kashmir Valley has also successfully reopened on 16 Mar 2023 after a gap of just 58 days. Other important passes at Sadhna, Pharkiyan Gali, and Zamindar Gali have been kept open throughout this winter season.
Speaking on the occasion, Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhry, DGBR, commended the Karamyogis of Project Beacon and Project Vijayak for achieving this feat.
“Early opening of the Zojila and Razdan passes will facilitate the augmentation of supply of essential goods and services for people of Ladakh and Gurez Valley”. He reiterated BRO’s commitment to nation-building and service to the people. During the interaction, DGBR said that the trial movement of vehicles has been conducted successfully today and the decision to open the road for civil traffic will be taken by the Civil Administration after the conduct of a joint inspection.
Trial convoys of vehicles have been successfully passed through the Zojila on 16 Mar 2023, thereby ensuring that the Pass remained closed for only 68 days this year as compared to 73 days last year and 160-180 days in the yesteryears.
This pass used to normally close by October/ November every year and re-open only by April/ May in the yesteryears with the total closure time averaging almost five to six months.
Defence PRO in Srinagar said, “With the renewed focus on infrastructure development and augmentation of connectivity to the Northern Borders in recent years, there has been a strategic requirement of minimizing the closure of Zojila Pass during winters”.
“BRO accordingly ensured that the Zojila Pass was kept open for traffic till as late as 06 Jan 2023 this year, thereby creating a new historic precedent of its kind. The advantage accrued by keeping Zozila open till this late can be assessed by the fact that almost 13,500 vehicles crossed the Pass between the end of Nov 2022 and 06 Jan 2023.
The snow-clearing operations were launched in the first week of Feb 2023.
The snow clearance teams were pushed into immediate action by Project Beacon and Project Vijayak from Sonamarg and Dras ends of Zojila. After sustained and relentless efforts, initial connectivity across Zojila Pass was established on 11 Mar 2023.
Improvement and widening of the road surface have been carried out since then to facilitate the safe passage of vehicles.
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