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- The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) reopened the strategic Zojila Pass that acts as a gateway between union territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir. The pass, located at an altitude of 11,650 feet in the greater Himalayan range, was closed for traffic on January 7.
About Zojila Pass
- Zoji La Pass is a high mountain pass in the Himalayas. It is in the Indian Union Territory of Ladakh, Kargil district, Kashmir.
- Located in the Drassubdivision, the pass connects the Kashmir Valley to its west with the Dras and Suru valleys to its northeast and the Indus valley further east. It provides a vital link between Ladakh and the Kashmir Valley.
- National Highway #1 between Srinagar and Leh in the western section of the Himalayan mountain range, traverses the pass.
- An all-weather Zoji-la Tunnel is under construction to mitigate seasonal road blockages due to heavy snowfall.
Zoji La Tunnel
- Zoji La Tunnel would be a 14.2 km long road tunnel under Zoji La pass in NH-1 in the Himalayas.
- The tunnel will connect Srinagar and Leh through Dras and Kargil.
- The passage will begin at Sonmarg in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, and terminate at Minamarg, in the Union Territory of Ladakh.
- Zojila tunnel will be India’s longest road tunnel and Asia’s longest bi-directional tunnel.
- An approach road will be added to the head of the tunnel, connecting it with the end of the Z-Morh tunnel, which leads to Kargil.
- The tunnel, at a height of more than 11,500 feet, will provide all-weather, perennial connectivity between Srinagar (Kashmir) and Ladakh.
- The travel time on Zojila Pass is about three hours, but the journey through the tunnel can be completed within just 15 minutes.
- The distance from Baltal to Minamarg will come down to 13 km from the present 40 km.
- The project is expected to lead to the integrated development of both Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
Presently, the Zojila Pass that connects Kashmir’s capital city Srinagar to Ladakh is motorable only for six months only as the accumulation of snow makes it inaccessible during winters. It creates inconveniences for civilians in Ladakh who have to stockpile the ration before winter sets in.
- The tunnel, which is covered from the top, will provide a passage safe from avalanches in the winter months.
- The construction of Zozila Tunnel shall bring about all round economic and socio-cultural integration of these regions which remains cut-off from rest of the countryduring winters due to heavy snowfall for about six months.
- The project is expected to generate employment opportunities for locals.
- Better transportation networks will boost the tourism sector in the region.
- Need for the Zojila tunnel was first felt during the 1999 Kargil war.
- And now authorities are on an overdrive to build a strategic Zojila tunnel in Kashmir to reduce travel time to Ladakh where China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is aggressively pushing its territorial claims along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
- It will ensure safer travel for defence and military vehicles, which are active in the border territory.
- The tunnel will provide logistics flexibility and operational mobility to the Indian Army as it will reduce the travel time on Zojila Pass from 3.5 hours to 15 minutes.
OTHER PASSES IN NEWS
- Razdan pass which provides the only road connectivity between the Gurez sector and the Kashmir Valley has also been successfully reopened on March 16 after a gap of just 58 days.
- Other important passes at Sadhna, Pharkiyan Gali and Zamindar Gali have been kept open throughout the winter season.
- Razdan Pass, is a 3,556 m (11,667 ft) high mountain pass in the Himalayas of Jammu and Kashmir.
- It connects the Gurez Valley in the north to the Kashmir Valley in the south, and is located in the Bandipora district.
- The pass is the only route connecting Gurez with the rest of the world. The pass connects dozens of remote and far-flung areas, including those near the Line of Controlwith the district headquarter of Bandipora, and is of strategic importance. The Harmukh mountain, the highest peak in the surrounding area, is also visible from here.
Note: Border Road Organisation (BRO) is planning to build Razdan Pass Tunnel project in Jammu and Kashmir, India. The project involves the construction of an 18km tunnel between Gurez and Bandipore.
- Sadhna pass, also known as Sadna Topand previously called Nastachun pass is a mountain pass in Jammu and Kashmir.
- It is located in the Himalayasand connects Karnah tehsil in the Kishanganga valley of Kupwara district with the Kashmir valley.
- It is approximately 30 km away from the town of Kupwara. It is located in the vast Shams Bari mountain range .
- It is situated in Kupwara (Muzaffarabad), Jammu and Kashmir.
- Zamindar Gali, also known at Z-Gali is is home to a large army garrison which is the base camp for logistics to the forward positions in Machil Valley, Kashmir. From Zamindar Gali, one can see Nanga Parbat, an 8126 –meters peak in the greater Himalayas.
PRELIMS PRACTICE QUESTION
Q. Choose the correct answer with reference to the following statements.
A. Sadhna Pass connects the Gurez Valley in the north to the Kashmir Valley in the south, and is located in the Bandipora district.
B. Razdan Pass is located in the Himalayas and connects Karnah tehsil in the Kishanganga valley of Kupwara district with the Kashmir valley.
1. A only
2. B only
3. Both A and B
4. Neither A nor B