In yet another achievement, the NDA government has successfully completed geographically challenging yet strategically vital 255 KM road to Jammu and Kashmir’s Leh region.
A previous UPA government-led effort to build the road between 2000 and 2012 had failed, costing the national exchequer Rs 320 crore. Due to inefficient planning, the road was washed away by the Shyok river as its alignment was too close to the river.
The 255-km Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie (DS-DBO) section of the road between Leh and Karakoram Pass has been completed, sources said. Some 37 bridges have been built across various snow-fed rivers.
On April 20, the first-ever vehicle expedition comprising motorcycles completed its run from Leh to Karakoram Pass and back (around 1,000 km). The road from Darbuk onwards runs at an altitude of 14,000 feet or more through a jagged part of the Karakoram mountain range.
The last 235-km stretch of the road from Shyok to Karakoram Pass has no civilian population. Shyok, a hamlet comprising 25 families, is the last Indian village and civilians are not permitted beyond it. Building the DS-DBO section of the road was a key thrust area of the Ministry of Defence for this strategic northernmost corner of India — termed Sub-Sector North (SSN) by the military.
The road will help India’s efforts to dominate the Line of Actual Control (LAC) — the de facto border — and also areas abutting Aksai Chin (under Chinese control), Jiwan Nalla, Chip-Chap river, etc. The two armies have had faceoffs in 2013 and 2014 in the area over differing perception of the LAC.