Srinagar- Ladakh highway re-opens for traffic after five months

Greater Kashmir

However, only light vehicles were allowed on trial basis, official sources said.

The highway, connecting the Ladakh region with the rest of the Jammu and Kashmir, reopened Thursday after remaining closed during the past five months due to accumulation of five to ten feet of snow.

However, only light vehicles were allowed on trial basis, official sources said. 

They said light vehicles were allowed from Meenmarg towards Sonmarg as snow on the road had been cleared. 

However, vehicles had to cross through big walls of snow on both sides, they said. 

Similarly, light vehicles will also be allowed from Sonmarg to Meenmarg if weather permits and provided all vehicles, which had left Meenmarg, cross Zojila pass this side this afternoon.

Decision to allow heavy vehicles will be taken only after it will be assured that there was no threat of snow avalanches because of traffic movement in avalanche prone area on the highway. The highway was closed officially due to slippery road conditions December last year though some vehicles were plying because of dry weather.

However, the highway got closed due to snowall in January this year which was followed by heavy snow in Sonmarg, Zojila, Zero point and Meenmarg. The Beacon authorities launched snow clearance operation from Drass, the second coldest place in the world after Siberia and Sonmarg side simultaneously.

When visited the Zojila pass recently saw huge snow walls on both sides of the road. The Centre has already approved a tunnel at Zojila to make an it all weather road so that Ladakh remain connected with Kashmir throughout the year.

Meanwhile, the divisional authorities are making arrangements to rush essentials, including food, vegetables, building material, petrol, diesel and LPG cylinders to different parts of the Ladakh region, which remained cut off during the past five months. However, government has stored essentials at different far flung and remote areas besides at Leh and Kargil district headquarters before the closure of the road.