Snow clearance operation along the Srinagar-Leh national highway is in the last phase and efforts are on to open the 434 km-long strategic road as soon as possible, BRO officials said on Tuesday.
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) is maintaining the highway which usually remains closed during winters due to heavy snowfall in the 3528 m-high Zojila Pass, a high mountain pass that runs through the Kashmir valley to Ladakh.
BRO’s Project Vijayak Chief Engineer Ashish Gambir said the snow clearance operation is going on in full swing in the Zojila Pass and the road would be opened as soon as possible.
He gave this assurance to Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC)-Kargil Chairman and Chief Executive Councillor Feroz Ahmad Khan during a meeting here, an official spokesperson said.
Gambir said only a stretch of 2-3 km is left to be cleared of snow from Srinagar side and the highway is all set to reopen shortly. It was closed for vehicular traffic in January this year.
The spokesperson said the chief engineer also briefed Khan about the BRO projects being executed in Kargil district.
Gambir said the recently announced bypass from Drass to Pushkum via Shimsha Kharboo is in tendering process and work will start soon on the project, the spokesperson said, adding this road is expected to decongest and minimise traffic in Kargil and Drass towns.
He also said the work on Kargil to Batalik road is already underway, while the survey on the Hambuting-la tunnel is complete and further process will be carried out soon.
On Khangral to Sanjak road realignment, the spokesperson said the BRO and the Kargil Revenue Department decided to conduct a joint survey on the project. Accordingly, the CEC assured it will take up the issue with the UT administration.
The spokesperson said Gambir assured that local workers who have labour cards as per MGNREGA will be engaged in Project Vijayak on twice the wage MGNREGA workers currently get wage of Rs 214 per day, while the BRO project will give them at least Rs 600 per day, he said.