Road to Galwan: Zojila Pass cleared in record 59 days

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Zojila, a strategic mountain pass at an altitude of 11,500 feet that remains cut-off throughout the winter and spring by a mighty wall of snow, has been cleared in a record fifty-nine days.

The clearance of the high-altitude pass will establish the road link between Kashmir valley and Ladakh region and allow the transfer of essential supplies as well as passenger traffic.

The immediate reopening of the pass assumes significance as it also allows transport of supplies to Galwan valley, where the Indian army was pitched in a cold confrontation with China.

The pass, which also serves as the boundary of Kashmir valley and Ladakh, has usually remained shut for five to six months.

Kiren Rijiju, a Union Minister of State, had earlier last week said that the pass will be opened on Sunday. “First time in the history, Zojila will remain closed only for 59 days against 160 – 180 days traditionally,” he said.

Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhary, the Director General of the BRO told reporters that the record fast reopening of the pass will “pay a lot of dividends to the people and troops deployed in the region”.

“It used to happen sometime in April or May. We are squeezing this time to two months,” he said. “We are taking all precautions, going gradually – restoring the roads to zero point.”

The feat was achieved as India had a tense stand-off with China in eastern Ladakh since summer last year. The winter blockade of Zojila had chocked the surface supply line to the army units deployed on two fronts – Pakistan and China – in the Ladakh region who had to brave freezing climatic conditions.

Deputy Commissioner Ganderbal Shafat Iqbal told The Kashmir Walla that the traffic will be resumed as soon as the administration receives a go-ahead from the BRO.

“We are awaiting a final advisory from the BRO, it might take one of two more days,” he said.

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