The Pathankot-Manali-Leh highway, which links Pathankot with Leh via Manali, will now be used by the Army to supply equipment to Leh and other forward areas.
This decision has been taken as the Srinagar-Leh highway is closed for traffic since it has suffered extensive damage due to heavy rain and flash floods in the Kashmir Valley. The Pathankot-Manali-Leh highway is the only road link left for Leh and Ladakh.
Official sources said here today that the Army had already diverted its supplies to Leh through this route. Since a snowfall was expected in the first week of November, limited period was left with the Army. Therefore, all efforts were being made to stock goods such as fuel and ration for its troops posted in the forward areas before snowfall on Rohtang and Baralacha which fall on the way to Leh .
After the Kargil War, this road has assumed more significance. The Ministry of Defence has considered the highway the safest route for carrying Army supplies and other heavy equipment to the border areas as Srinagar-Leh highway falls within the firing range of the Pakistan army. During the Kargil War, this road was the boon to the nation as entire supplies, including heavy equipment and tanks, were carried through this route
The Pathankot-Manali-Leh highway is one of the most significant roads which links Jammu-Pathankot with Leh Ladakh via Manali. Because of disturbed conditions in Jammu and Kashmir for the past 15 years, this road has gathered more importance. Earlier too, the Army has used this highway to supply defence equipment to Leh and other border areas.
This road was declared the national highway in 1987 by then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, keeping in view the defence requirements for supply of goods to Leh. Though the state PWD and BRO have spent crores of rupees on this road, they could not covert even one-third portion of it into full width of the national highway.
The highway is in bad shape as the government has not yet converted it into fourlaning. At many points, the road is narrow and single lane which causes frequent traffic jams and inconvenience to the Army while lifting its supplies to Leh.
Road safe, but in bad shape
- The Ministry of Defence has considered the highway the safest route as Srinagar-Leh highway falls within the firing range of the Pakistan army.
- But, the highway is in bad shape as the government has not yet converted it into fourlaning.
- At many points, the road is narrow which causes traffic jams and inconvenience to the Army while lifting its supplies to Leh.