New Delhi: Inclement weather and falling temperatures dipping to –27° Celsius has not deterred the spirit of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), as the premier entity tasked with building and maintaining roads having national security implications, has kept ‘Zoji La’ Pass, for the first time ever, operational in January.
The BRO achieved this feat through its frontline Projects – Vijayak and Beacon. They are collectively responsible for maintaining the axis that has strategic implications, in addition to the socio-economic well-being of Ladakh, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said in a statement released on Tuesday.
The Pass situated at the altitude of 11,643 ft normally closes by mid-November every year, with the onset of winters and opens only by the end of April the next year.
However, with improved technology and modernized equipment at disposal, BRO ‘Karmyogis’ have been pushing the limits and testing their own capabilities for the past two years. Incidentally, the pass was kept open until 31st December last year and the BRO bettered its own record this year.
Speaking to Defence Watch on the logistical effort that went into achieving this unparalleled feat considered impossible until now, an Army engineer on deputation to BRO, said, “Braving sub-zero temperatures and snow blizzard the team had been working round-the-clock without rest to keep the road functioning. A total of six teams, 20 heavy state-of-the-art newly inducted equipment including snow cutters and effective coordination and resource utilization from Gumri-to-Gagangir is what has made this development possible.”
The development is a stellar achievement for Border Roads Organisation (BRO), as it will provide the crucial link between the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh even during the peak winter season.
The development is also critical as it demonstrates the capability of the BRO to facilitate the movement of troops, military equipment and ration through the Zoji La pass in extreme weather conditions.
Speaking to Defence Watch, Lt Gen Grewal (Retd) said, “Given the current border situation in Ladakh where armies of India and China have been engaged in an eyeball-to-eyeball situation, it is also a message to our adversaries as to the nature of our strong will-power.”
Since the beginning of January, the BRO officials and local police have collectively assisted in the transit of over 300 vehicles. The numbers are considered significant because with the temperatures plummeting to Minus 20 degrees Celsius, the road is subject to extreme frosting with blizzard-like conditions, which can lead to accidents.
Thus, besides snow clearance, the axis is subjected to maintenance on a daily basis to keep it roadworthy.
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