Mandi, April 16
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) today restored the Darcha-Padum road via the Shinkula Pass (16,615 ft) to the movement of Indian Army vehicles between Lahaul in Himachal and the Zanskar valley in Union Territory of Ladakh. However, civil traffic on Darcha-Padum road would be allowed after the approval of the district administration Lahaul and Spiti.
The Director General of BRO, Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhary, visited the Shinkula Pass from Zanskar. He flagged off BRO vehicles from Shinkula to the Zanskar valley and congratulated its officials on achieving this feat in record time.
The Shinkula Pass receives heavy snowfall during winter every year and the road connectivity to the Zanskar valley from the Lahaul side gets blocked for months.
Lt General Chaudhary said that the execution of the ongoing Darcha-Padum-Nimmu road project would get a boost after the newly created Project YOJAK headed by Chief Engineer Jitender Parsad, who was accompanying him, takes it over.
The road project would provide alternative connectivity to border areas of Ladakh from the Himachal side. The BRO is planning to construct a 4.25-km tunnel beneath the Shinkula Pass to provide round-the-year road connectivity to Ladakh from the Himachal side. “One Border Road Task Force with 2 RCC shall be stationed at Zanskar for the execution of the Darcha-Padum-Nimmu road and the construction of the tunnel beneath the pass. It will be the world’s longest tunnel at such a high altitude. Local labour force will continue to get preference and will be paid a handsome salary,” he said.
“The BRO has set a target to complete the construction of the Shinkula Pass tunnel till 2025. The road connectivity to the Zanskar valley from the Himachal side will give impetus to the tourism sector, benefiting local residents,” he added
The road would also provide access to the Indian Army to Leh from the Himachal side. At present, the Manali-Leh highway is the only route available to the Army to access Leh from the Himachal side.
Nod awaited for other vehicles
The civil traffic on Darcha-Padum road will be allowed after the approval of the district administration of Lahaul and Spiti.