Border Road Organisation (BRO) has opened the strategic Srinagar-Leh highway that connects Ladakh to the rest of the world. The 425 km road was closed since December last year due to heavy snowfall at Zojila pass. BRO is an accountable organisation formed in 1960 to maintain road networks in India’s border areas and friendly neighbouring countries in inhospitable and inclement weather conditions. It functions under Ministry of Defence and operates 18 projects to serve the region of India, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Afghanistan.
Zojila pass has been blocked by snow for last four months. This winter snowfall has broken the record of the last 60 years, and thereby making it more difficult for BRO to clear it. The blockage of road virtually cut Ladakh from the rest of the world. Only 18 tankers and other essential commodities were allowed to pass toward Leh from Zojila pass at 11500 feet, although the route received fresh snowfall on 1st and 2nd April.
As per the guidelines of Divisional Commissioner Officer, there was a clamant need for stockpiling essential commodities in the Union Territory of Ladakh. Acknowledging this, the team of Project Beacon and Project Vijayak cleared fresh snow around Zojila pass and made the road navigable.
Project Beacon looks after road infrastructure development and maintenance in the areas of Kashmir, connecting it to Jammu to the south and Ladakh region to the east through the strategically important passage of Jawahar tunnel and Zojila pass respectively, and Project Vijayak is responsible for the maintenance of road of Zojila-Kargil-Leh(NH-1) road passing through the mighty Zojila pass.
The snow clearance operation was carried out by Project Beacon and Project Vijayak wherein from Gagangir to zero point project Beacon cleared the snow, and from Drass towards zero point Project Vijayak cleared the snow. This road sustains the population in Ladakh and provides troop support deployed on the Line of Actual Control facing China, and Line of Control facing Pakistan. Every year during winters the road is blocked by snow and services are maintained by air.
Besides the demand for essential commodities, other commodities that are being shipped will further distributed in all the districts by Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Councils(LAHDC).
On 14th march 2020, BRO made a ground breaking 60-year record of clearing the snow from Srinagar-Leh highway in just 18 days.