New Delhi: The strategic Zoji la Pass was today opened for Civilian Traffic as the first civilian convoy comprising 560 vehicles carrying fresh supplies, medicines and other essential items and passenger vehicles crossed over to Ladakh from Sonamarg. The Ministry of Defence said in a statement that the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) established the unprecedented breakthrough on the gateway connect between Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir on 19 Mar 2022 when the first Trial Convoy was flagged off by DGBR, Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhry from Zoji La to Ladakh.
This is for the first time in over six decades the Zoji la Pass, on NH-1 faced closure for only 73 days, as against an average of 150 days. Known as the "Mountain Pass of Blizzards", Zoji la is located in Drass, Ladakh at an altitude above 11,650 ft and historically remains closed for the major part of the winter season. This year BRO kept it open till 04 Jan 22, a first-ever accomplishment in recorded history.
Various precautionary measures were put in place by BRO before the road was declared open for traffic. Since the road stretch has a large number of avalanche-prone locations dedicated teams comprising lookout men along with heavy-duty equipment have been prepositioned astride identified avalanche and accidents sites. Another set of teams is employed on the road stretch to carry out road maintenance to ensure uninterrupted trafficability in the coming days while small teams continue to clear and widen the road stretch to facilitate the movement of heavy-duty vehicles.
BRO made necessary coordination and liaison with the local Civil Administration and Traffic Police who provided manpower and essential resources for safe passage of vehicles and teams and equipment for recovery operations required on the road, also provisions were made at various places on the road catering medical emergencies and a Medical camp was also set up at Matayen, Drass for emergency medical response.
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