Srinagar, 5th January 2023: In spite of heavy snowfall at Zojila, Border Roads Organization (BRO) staf with relentless effort under Project Beacon ensured opening of the Pass and facilitated connectivity to Ladakh region. On Srinagar-Sonamarg-Gumri road, the Zojila Pass is located at an elevation of 11643 feet and serves as the lifeline between the Kashmir Valley and Ladakh. Last year Zojila Pass was kept open till 03 Jan 2022, this year once again due to the concerted efforts of Project Beacon, the Zojila Pass was kept open, for the first time ever, till 06th of January. The extended opening of Zojila pass was carried out by BRO for the first time in 2020 keeping in view the situation on the Northern borders and since then it has been continued in 2021 and 2022.
Freezing temperatures of upto – 20º C, insufficient oxygen, high winds and blizzards and frequent avalanches in this terrain did not deter the Border Roads Karmyogis, who despite all odds, ensured unhindered move of vehicles across Zojila Pass in the current winter season. More than 20 heavy duty plant equipment including four state of the art snow cutters were employed to keep the axis open. BRO has also completed successful trials of route guidance & navigation system technology for snow clearance eqpt to enhance efficiency and safety while performing snow clearance operations.
Project Beacon has ensured connectivity to strategic requirements of Indian Army and survival requirements of the local population of UT of Ladakh. The Snowfall in last two-three days has resulted in slippery road conditions along Zojila Pass on Srinagar – Leh highway causing disruption to traffic movement. Detachments of Project Beacon with prepositioned equipments located at Gumri, Bajri Nallah, Baltal, Sonamarg and Gagangir played key role in opening of the pass inspite of inclement weather conditions. Day and night lost their relevance when six teams deployed at different locations worked 24×7 to keep the road open during extremely challenging conditions since the onset of winters 2022. Approximately 13500 vehicles crossed Zojila since 25 Nov 22 while moving from Kashmir to Ladakh and vice versa. The efforts of BRO to keep the pass open till so long have been lauded by the Civil administration as well as local population of Kashmir Valley and UT Ladakh.
Despite closure of Zojila Pass, snow clearance operations by Project Beacon will continue unabated in order to keep the Sonamarg Tourist Destination open throughout the winters as per requirements of Kashmir Division.