BRO constructs World’s highest motorable road near LAC in Ladakh

Leh— Border Road Organiza­tion’s ‘Project Himank’ has achieved another major feat in Ladakh by constructing the World’s highest motor­able road, passing through Umlingla Top at a height of over 19,300 feet. Being close to Hanle, the 86 km strategic road connects Chisumle and Dem­chok villages, located 230 Kms from Leh, which are stone’s throw away from Indo-China border in eastern sector.

Felicitating the personnel for achieving the feat, Chief Engineer Project Himank, Brigadier DM Purvimath, said constructing the road at an al­titude of over 19300 feet was a daunting task with life threat­ening challenges.

He said the climate at the location is always adverse for construction activities.

“During peak summer, tem­perature hovers around minus 10-20 degrees Celsius, and in winter it dips to minus 40 de­grees. Oxygen level at the alti­tude is 50 percent less than at normal places,” he said.

“Efficiency of machines and manpower declines by 50 per­cent due to harsh climate and less oxygen level; the machine operators have to come down after every 10 minutes for Oxygen,” he said, adding “no­body can survive at the spot for more than an hour without proper training and acclima­tizing with the place.”

The brigadier said that the logistics was a major challenge in taking men and machinery at such an altitude.

“Taking equipment at such a height, repairing and main­taining it is a major task since the equipment faced lot of breakdowns,” he said.

He said that because of this gradation the personnel faced huge health problems like loss of memory, eyesight and high blood pressure.

“Such a construction does not come without a cost, but given the national and strategic importance of the road our men and machinery worked over­night to meet the targets set out by Director General Border Roads.” Brig. Pointed out .

The BRO personnel are accli­matised through a tedious pro­cess and a lot of training before assigning the job, said Com­mander 753 BRTF, Pardeep Raj, who looks after the road con­struction of this sector .

“Acclimatisation of men is done at three stages- at Leh, Shakti and Numa- before being inducted into the sector. Physi­cal and mental fitness of men is emphasized upon for working in the area as the working sea­son is limited in the region,” Commander said and added the planning of work in the area is done long before its execution to achieve desired results .

Captain Bharat Mani Choud­hury, a doctor, who takes care of health of the jawans in the entire sector said that it is compulsory for GREFF person­nel and laborers to acclimatize at three different stages for a period of 16 days before taking over the job. “Blood pressure and Oxygen level of each jawan are frequently monitored,” he said and added facility of Oxy­gen was kept at different places during emergency.

“The personnel are instruct­ed to avoid drinking stream water, consume least spicy foods and take ten liters of wa­ter daily,” he said.

Captain Abhay Partap Singh Negi, OIC 124 RCC, said it is a proud moment and a dream come true.

“It took me three months to set­tle and acclimatize with the envi­ronment. It gives me immense pleasure to drive on the world’s highest motorable road,” he said, adding, “Mental and motivation­al strength is must for the jawans as the area is one stage less than Siachan in climate.”

Project Himank has already constructed roads like Khar­dangula at an altitude of 17900 ft and Changla Passes at an altitude of 17695 ft in Leh by connecting Nobra valley and Durbuk valley in the cold des­ert. (KNS)


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