In a first, the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) kept Zoji mountain pass open for vehicular traffic beyond 31 December despite extreme weather conditions.
The Zoji pass, situated at an altitude of 11,649 ft, is important for Ladakh as it links the UT with the rest of the country.
The BRO achieved this feat through its frontline projects – Vijayak and Beacon. They are collectively responsible for maintaining the axis that has strategic implications, in addition to the socio-economic well-being of Ladakh, the Defence Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday (4 January).
Last year the acess to the pass was extended till 31 December 2020, the ministry said.
However, this year BRO opened the pass beyond 31 December by reorganising and adding a few more snow clearance detachments and augmenting them with the state-of-the-art snow clearance equipment.
The additional window for vehicular traffic provided by extended opening of the pass reduces the logistic burden on the UT administration and helps the local inhabitants to stock additional rations and supplies to brave the impending harsh winters.
In the first three days of 2022, about 178 vehicles have been able to transit through the pass by the collective assistance of the BRO and the Police personnel, the ministry said.
According to the ministry, the numbers are considered significant because with the temperatures plummeting to minus 20 degree celsius, the road is subject to extreme frosting with blizzard like conditions, which can lead to accidents.
Thus, besides snow clearance, the axis is subjected to maintenance on a daily basis to keep it road worthy, which is achieved by the relentless and selfless efforts of BRO personnel, the ministry said.