The Srinagar-Kargil highway in India’s union territory of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) is likely to be kept open for maximum possible time during winters this year.
The strategic highway which is the only surface link between Ladakh and J&K remains closed from December to April due to heavy snowfall on the Zoji La pass and other areas along the highway.
As per official sources, the decision to keep the highway open was taken for buffer stocking of the essential commodities in Ladakh region. However, only the vehicles of emergency nature and those carrying essential commodities will be allowed on the highway.
The decision is also seen in light of the “double whammy that Ladakh is facing in the shape of COVID-19 and tension along the LAC”.
Sources said that Lieutenant Governor, Ladakh, R.K Mathur recently held a detailed meeting with the officials and all the stakeholders to take stock of the winter stocking and status of the Zoji La pass road.
The LG directed the Chief Engineer Beacon to keep its men and machinery ready so that in view of snowfall, the road is cleared.
The LG directed the departments concerned to ensure proper transportation and supply of essential commodities including ration, medicines, key construction materials and petroleum products to Ladakh in a stipulated time frame keeping in view the ensuing winter season.
A beacon official said that the men and machinery have been kept ready for snow clearance as per the already issued forecast and advisory. He said that they will try to keep the road open for maximum possible time, at least till 31 December.