National: The Government of India is pushing hard to complete an all-weather strategic route to Ladakh. The route will link Darcha in Himachal Pradesh to Nimu. The route will go via Padum in Kargil’s Zanskar valley. Nimu is about 35 kilometers from Leh town. The headquarters of XIV Corps are in Nimu. The XIV is responsible for the defence of East Ladakh and Siachen Glacier.
The third route to connect Ladakh is in urgent need. Recently, Pakistan and China have shown interest in the Siachen Glacier and the Daulat Beg Oldie.
The route after completion will be the first all-weather route to Ladakh. However, Ladakh is already connected by two other routes. The first route is via Zoji La in Jammu and Kashmir. Also, the second route is via Himachal’s Manali-Upshi-Leh axis. The 9.02 kilometers Atal tunnel at Rohtang La, will reduce the distance between Manali and Leh by 46 km. The tunnel will become operational by next month.
Nitin Gadkari and his colleague Gen VK Singh are pushing hard to complete the road project. Earlier, China provoked the standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). They are mobilizing troops in remote areas.
The third route will require upgrading the Darcha-Padum-Nimu trekking route into a metalled road. Also, a 4.5-kilometer tunnel under Shingo La on the Darcha-Padum route must be built. According to the Defence Ministry, the project must complete within two years.
Moreover, four more high mountain passes will require tunneling. This is essential for keeping the route open throughout the year. The mountain passes are on the existing Manali-Leh route.
All the four passes, Baralacha La (16,500 feet), Nakee La (15,547 feet), Lachung La (16,616 feet), and Tanglang La (17,480 feet) are in high altitudes. These passes are open only in mid-May and mid of November.