Fresh snowfall delays Srinagar-Leh highway reopening

Fresh snowfall and avalanches have delayed the reopening of the strategic Srinagar-Leh National Highway, officials said on Sunday. The highway was scheduled to reopen today.

“Due to snow and avalanches, the reopening of the road has been delayed for some days,” officials said.

“Due to the accumulation of the snow and several major avalanches along the Zojila pass and Drass following recent snowfall, the highway is now likely to be officially thrown open in next couple of days for traffic,” officials said.

Director General, Border Roads Organisation (BRO) Lt Gen R Chaudhray along with senior officers on Sunday visited Zojila to take stock of the snow clearance work on the highway.

Talking to the media, the DG BRO said that it is for the first time that the Srinagar-Leh highway was to be reopened in February. “Earlier, it used to remain closed for about 5 to 6 months from December to April,” he said.

“We are committed to reopen it early and to restore the traffic for the travellers particularly the people of Ladakh and the troops,” Chaudhary said.

He said that the snow clearance work has been completed and the road is connected. “We are assessing the road conditions so that the highway is restored,” he said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner/District Magistrate and CEO, LAHDC, Kargil Santosh Sukhadeve along with the Senior Superintendent of Police Kargil Anayat Ali Choudhary today visited the highway up to Pandrass to assess the road condition.

During the course of the tour, the DC along with the SSP, CE Vijayak and other concerned officers took stock of snow clearance works at Jasgond and Pandrass.

At Pandrass, the DC appreciated the Vijayak authorities for snow clearance and directed them to complete the remaining works at the earliest.

The DC was informed that both men and machinery have been mobilized to carry out the snow clearance operations on the road stretch from Pandrass to Zero Point. It was informed that the snow avalanches at some locations were hampering the clearance works.