SRINAGAR: Braving extremely adverse weather conditions, the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), under Project Himank, is carving out the world’s first glaciated motorable road.
“The BRO is laying the motorable roads by cutting the world’s highest glaciers which are here in eastern Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir,” an official of the BRO said.
Being constructed at an altitude of over 17,800 feet, the road from Sasoma to Saser La will be a vital link paved in a region which is mostly cut-off during the severe winter months.
Saser La, also known as Saser Pass, is a high mountain pass which lies in the Karakoram range. It is located on the ancient summer caravan route from Leh in Ladakh to Yarkand in the Tarim Basin.
“As the temperature in the region falls to minus 50 degrees Celsius during winter and hovers around 12 degrees Celsius during peak summer, work in such condition is a herculean task.
“Besides, the biting cold and bone chilling winds, there are dangers of unseen crevasses and avalanches. Further, the glaciers shift constantly when the snow melts, adding to the difficulty in construction, he said.
The months when construction works can be taken up are few, forcing officials to be ready with plans and strategies in advance to achieve targets.
“The short working period needs to be utilised to the maximum, thus requiring effective management of manpower and resources. Planning of work starts four to five months prior to the working season,” he said.
The official said meticulous planning and hard work of the BRO officers has been extremely essential for the successful completion of the tasks.
“There is little a BRO personnel can do to stop an ice-wall or crevasse opening on what is essentially a moving block of ice, but due to commitment of jawans and strategic need the project moves forward despite challenges. Due to good equipment, other resources, training and medical facilities for BRO personnel, works in the hostile high altitude areas are possible, he said.