Sonamarg: The lifeline of Ladakh and Kargil, the National Highway from Srinagar to Leh will be thrown open on Saturday, but only for vehicles and oil tankers carrying essential supplies, after remaining closed for six months for the winter.
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has worked against tough odds in tough terrain to throw open the snow-blocked Srinagar-Leh highway a month earlier than usual. However, normal traffic will not be allowed due to the lockdown to prevent spread of Covid-19.
According to the order issued by the Divisional Commissioner Ladakh, only trucks/oil tankers carrying essential commodities for Ladakh region will be allowed to cross Zojila Pass from April 11, 2020.
The order reads that as per the schedule, a maximum of 29 tankers will be allowed to cross Zojila Pass on April 11 (Saturday) and 10 trucks, 5 each for Leh and Kargil, carrying vegetables/food items etc on April 13 (Monday), maximum 14 HPCL trucks, 7 each for Leh and Kargil, carrying LPG cylinders on April 15, maximum 15 trucks carrying vegetables/food items etc for Kargil on April 17, maximum 15 trucks carrying vegetables/food items etc for Leh on April 19, maximum 15 trucks carrying vegetables/food items etc for Kargil on April 21, maximum 15 trucks carrying vegetables/food items etc for Leh on April 23.
The order further reads that the trucks/tankers will camp at Sonamarg on the previous evening of movement or early morning by 8:00 AM on the date of movement.
In case of cancellation of movement of trucks/tankers on a particular date due to bad weather etc, the number of trucks/tankers scheduled for that particular date shall be allowed to cross over Zojila on the next day.
The trucks carrying essential commodities will be transhipped at Minmarg, at the location identified by the Deputy Commissioner Kargil, into local trucks to be arranged by the indenting agency.
The requisitioning of essential commodities, their quantity, agency through which the commodities will be procured, mechanism for transshipment and further distribution in all areas of both districts will be fixed and monitored by the respective Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Councils.
The Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Leh and Kargil will furnish the list of trucks crossing Zojila Pass on a scheduled date, their registration numbers, name of the driver and one additional staff and their particulars, to the Inspector General of Police, Ladakh, at least 2 days before the scheduled date of crossing the Zojila Pass. Only such drivers/helpers shall be allowed to cross Zojila Pass whose name and particulars are provided in advance to the IGP, Ladakh.
The other conditions related to the movement of trucks/oil tankers carrying essential commodities shall remain the same as laid down in the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
The order further states that Abid Hussain, (Mobile No: 9622857476), OSD with the Divisional Commissioner Ladakh, shall be the Nodal Officer to coordinate with different agencies/stakeholders for smooth transition of essential commodities /supplies in Ladakh.