Srinagar: Zojila Pass, at an altitude of 11516 ft connects the picturesque Kashmir Valley with the cold desert of Indus Valley through the 430 km long Srinagar-Leh road. 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. Adding to the difficulties is the formation of ice on the road due to low temperatures which is a constant factor.
Zojila Pass was closed on 11 Dec 2017 and the summer snow clearance operation was started on 21 Feb 2018 by Project Beacon and Project Vijayak. Dozers, JCBs, Wheel Loaders, Snow Cutters and other resources were deployed by the teams for completing the herculean task in shortest possible time.
Although the major effort of snow clearance is machine oriented, the men behind the machines really matter a lot. Since the entire road is covered with thick snow, the most difficult task is to identify the road alignment. The Snow Clearance Team with the help of local labourers performs the job with various navigational aids and natural skills. Despite all odds, Project Vijayak and Beacon has opened the road well before the normal time, with the initial linkup happening on 21 Mar 2018.
The Zojila Pass was officially opened on 6th Apr 2018 by Lt Gen AK Bhatt, GOC 15 Corps in attendance of CEC Kargil Shri Kacho Ahmed Ali Khan, GOC 8 Mountain Division, GOC 31 Sub Area, Chief Engineer - Project Beacon, Chief Engineer - Project Vijayak and other members of both the Projects and Officers of HQ 14 & 15 Corps.
A host of other dignitaries and high ranking officials of local administration and police graced the event. The Snow Clearance Terms of Project Vijayak & Beacon were complimented by all for their dedication, hard work and perseverance in execution of this arduous task.