Srinagar-Leh Highway Opens, Civil Administration Ignored

Srinagar—The 434-Km Srinagar-Leh highway, connecting Kashmir valley with Ladakh region, was thrown open for traffic on Friday prior to notification from the Divisional administration “unilaterally” by Lt Gen A K Bhatt, General Officer Commanding of 15 Corps along with officials from beacon.

Zojila Pass, connects the picturesque Kashmir valley with the cold desert of Indus valley through the 434 km long Srinagar-Leh road, was closed on December 11 last year.

The summer snow clearance operation, started on Feb 21, was undertaken by Project Vijayak and Beacon, army spokesperson said.

“Dozers, JCBs, wheel loaders, snow cutters and other resources were deployed by the teams for completing the herculean task in shortest possible time,” he said, adding that the highway has been opened well before the normal time this year.

The spokesperson said that the snow clearance team, with the help of local labourers, performed the tough job using various navigational aids and natural skills.

“Snow clearance operations for opening of Zojila are a big challenge owing to large snow accumulation of 30-40 feet, threat of avalanches and inclement weather conditions,” he added.

The District Magistrate Ganderbal, Dr Puyush Singla said that “criminal negligence proceedings” would be initiated against Beacon authorities.

 “The Divisional Commissioner Kashmir issued a notification in this regard on the basis of recommendations of district administration Ganderbal. Throwing open Srinagar-Leh highway open without consulting District administration is an illegal act. Besides, we all know there is law and order problem in Kangan and Ganderbal and by opening this highway we can’t put tourists and other people at risk,” Singla said.

The DC said that they were trying their best to open this highway but due to law and order problem they delayed the process. “We were about to issue notification in this regard. We all were shocked on Friday when we received the news about Beacon throwing it open,” he maintained.

The District Magistrate further said that it is unfortunate that beacon authorities unilaterally decided to open Srinagar Leh highway through Ganderbal district and putting the life and property of people in danger besides creating confusion considering law and order situation prevailing in the areas.

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