LEH: Amid ongoing tensions with China, the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has almost finished work on a third strategic road, also known as the Nimmu-Padam-Darcha road.
This road will give strategic connectivity to security forces as it will be untraceable for the neighbouring countries.
The two other roads — Srinagar-Kargil-Leh and Manali Sarchu-Leh roads — are exposed as they are close to the International Border which makes it easy for the enemy to keep a watch on them.
Sources said the new road will also cut the travel time from Manali to Leh by almost half. While travelling on the old road used to take almost 12-14 hours, on the new road it will take just 6-7 hours.
One of the most important aspects of this road is that unlike others it can remain open almost throughout the year. The two other roads used to stay open for only 6-7 months and were usually closed for a six-month period from November.
BRO engineers said this road is functional now and is ready for heavy vehicles weighing multiple tonnes.
“This road is ready except for a 30-kilometre stretch. Now the Army can use this road. The importance of this road is that the Army can save almost 5-6 hours in transit from Manali to Leh. Also, because this road is untraceable by other countries, Army movement can happen without much security risk. This road is not close to any border,” superintendent engineer, Commander 16 BRTF, MK Jain said.
“Moreover, as this road is at low altitudes, it can stay open for almost 10-11 months for vehicle movement. This road is 258 kilometres long. We have given connectivity by diverting and connecting it to a different road as 30-kilometre stretch is yet to be completed,” he added.
The route mainly used for transportation of goods and personnel is the one from Zojila, which passes through the Drass-Kargil axis to Leh.
The same route was targeted heavily by the Pakistanis during the Kargil war in 1999 and was subjected to frequent bombarding and shelling by their troops from positions in high altitude mountains alongside the road.