Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir`s strategic Srinagar-Leh national highway was re-opened for vehicular traffic on Monday after remaining closed for nearly six months due to heavy snowfall in the Zojilla Pass that connects the cold desert Ladakh region of the state with the rest of the country.
The highway was formally thrown open by Lieutenant General SA Hasnain, general-officer-commanding of Srinagar based 15th Corps.
The Borders Roads Organisation (BRO) that maintains the 434-km highway passing through 3530 metres high Zojilla Pass, which connects Ladakh with the rest of the country, had pressed men and machinery to clear tonnes of snow from the highway.
All the essential supplies, defence convoys and tourist traffic to one of world`s most rustic landscape areas passes through this highway.
More than 400 vehicles carrying essential supplies to the Ladakh region crossed the Zojilla Pass after the highway was reopened, said an official of the border roads organisation here.
To attract more tourists to Ladakh region this year, the Jammu and Kashmir government has decided to do away with the toll tax at Shutkadi on the Srinagar-Leh highway, 85 km from Srinagar.
During the six winter months, when the highway remains snowbound, air traffic is the only link between the cold desert region of Ladakh and the rest of the country.
The road clearance was completed on April 29 and light vehicles of Army carried out a test drive to check the safety of the road for civilian traffic yesterday.