Srinagar-Leh NH to be re-opened this month

Excelsior Correspondent

Project VIJAYAK personnel engaged in snow clearance operations near Kargil. -Excelsior/Murtaza Ali
Project VIJAYAK personnel engaged in snow clearance operations near Kargil. -Excelsior/Murtaza Ali

JAMMU, Apr 18: The 440-kilometers long Srinagar-Leh National Highway will be opened for traffic in last week of this month, at least a fortnight in advance than the deadline and previous years in view of the efforts put in by the men entrusted with clearance of snow on the highway.
The Highway is generally closed for traffic in November in view of snowfall. However, sometimes it continues to remain open till late November or early December.
The `Project VIJAYAK’ authorities, who were responsible for clearance of snow, told the reporters in Kargil today that Srinagar-Kargil-Leh National Highway, which is 440 kilometers long, will be open for traffic from both sides in last week of this month.
`Project VIJAYAK’ Chief Engineer Mohan Lal today visited Zero Point Gumri, the meeting point from both sides and declared that the road from Kargil side has been cleared for one way traffic.
He said that within next four days, Project Beacon will also complete the work and the road will be opened for vehicular traffic tentatively from April 25 provided that the weather behaves and there were no adverse conditions.
“The snow clearance work on the strategically important Srinagar-Leh National Highway-1D is going on from both sides. While `Project VIJAYAK’ has undertaken the work from Kargil side, it was  Project Beacon, which was working from Srinagar side,” he added.
He said that BRO generally incurs an expenditure of Rs 30-40 lakh for clearing snow from 40 kilometers patch from Drass to Gumri Zero Point.
He hailed the team of `Project VIJAYAK’ for the achievement and appreciated the team which comprises mostly of local youths from Drass and presented sweets to them.
He directed the team to start widening the road for double traffic and hoped that in few days expected avalanches on key point will occur which will ease later.
Mohan Lal said that the bridge at Matayen Nallah has been installed and operated today as this year the water level in the river is huge which will increase in days to come. “To overcome this river crossing problem, the bridge has been installed earlier,” he added.
Answering the question about any recognition from the State Government to the Project personnel for undertaking such a tremendous job, the Chief Engineer said that his teams feels immense pleasure in connecting the people of Ladakh as well as Indian Army with the rest of the world which is the best reward.
It is pertinent to mention here that Ladakh remains cutoff from rest of world for over five months every year from November end to May start, The people in Ladakh eagerly wait for the opening of the road as there is shortage of many essential commodities.
During his visit to Zero Point, Mohan Lal was accompanied by Col P Kumar of 55 RCC, Lt Col Sharma and Major Sumit Shinde.
The Chief Engineer said that snow clearance work had started on March 12. However, due to bad weather conditions and latest snowfall in the last week of March, the authorities had to restart the snow clearance from Matayen.
He further said that from Srinagar side, Project BEACON has crossed India Gate and there is a gap of 4 kilometers only to reach Zero Point, which may take 4 to 5 days for clearance of snow.
Last year, the highway was opened in first week of May but officially it was opened for traffic movement on May 17.


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