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Improving road network in Ladakh


Union Territory of Ladakh being not only strategically important area of the country bordering two countries but a heaven for tourism of all hues, of course, scattered and even separated by valleys and passes. Road network, therefore, is cardinal for promotion of tourism industry with vast potential as also for its economy to keep its wheels moving. There is vast improvement and changes in this respect especially in ensuring all weather connectivity in the shape of the Atal Tunnel, Shinku La tunnel and Zojila Pass Tunnel besides many other tunnels with an overall aim of reducing distance and time to give a new meaning to road infrastructure in Ladakh. By bits and starts, some or the other work used to be undertaken there in Ladakh in respect of providing road connectivity but not in a manner to have the desired impact either on tourism or on connectivity.
In other words , if it is said that an element of neglect due to whatever reason was ruling supreme in creating developmental infrastructure in Ladakh, to keep at the top, road connectivity, it would not be an over statement resulting in under development and under exploration of tourism potential. Now that Ladakh being a UT can fairly arrange and utilise its resources to vastly expand tourism potential and to ensure that, having a road network of 266 kilometres either constructed or up-graded to suit free, speedy and hassles free traffic movement connecting far off ends together, is a decision taken in the right direction. That would naturally open up more avenues, opportunities and channels to augment tourism related turnover, generating of economic opportunities and more importantly – employment opportunities. Since the peculiarity of topography and mountainous terrain of Ladakh are concerned, only that agency having particular expertise and dexterity alone can construct the required road network. Therefore, for that purpose, the choice having fallen on the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) due to its role of taking up projects of strategic importance, is on expected lines. In other words, BRO to be assigned the role of improving road network in Ladakh stretching over 266 KMs costing around Rs. 4970 crore is definitely a long term investment with recurring dividends surely expected to be reaped.
The problem of scattered villages and places and to connect them on consistent basis would be the touchstone of the success of any developmental projects undertaken in Ladakh and the proposed network was going to resolve this important problem. By doing so, such spots of immense tourist interest could get duly surfaced and thronged by tourists resulting in an even development progressively to lead to better living and allied facilities in these areas.
Many alternate connectivity points would thus not only connect places like Khardungla top for reaching Nubra valley bypassing Leh but reduce distance from Khaltsi to Turktuk, one of the gateways to Siechen Glacier saving 200 KMs and save considerable time. It is noteworthy that road network proposed to be reaching up to the last village and outpost of India in Ladakh -Turktuk – shows a turnaround in connectivity projects in Ladakh. Not only roads but a few tunnels too are proposed to be built for inter-valley connectivity though not by the BRO but other agencies which reportedly are in the process of being identified. Decision to go in for improved road network in Ladakh, in short, is a concomitant of the economy in the region getting a fillip because it is roads through which economy pulsates as it links tourists to various related commercial entities, connects producers to markets, sick to the hospitals, workers to places of jobs and the like. Within a few years, it would fairly be known how improved and added road connectivity brought in considerable improvement in the overall economy of Ladakh.

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