Srinagar-Leh Highway opens to traffic, first time in mid-April
15 April 2008
The Indian Express
: Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Tuesday flagged off a fleet of Srinagar-bound vehicles from near Gumri across Zojila, marking the earliest annual opening of the 434-km Srinagar-Leh highway after remaining closed in winter. It is for the first time that the road has been thrown open for vehicular traffic as early as mid-April. This vital road link between Kashmir and Ladakh is generally opened for traffic in June. Last year, the road opening was advanced to May 1. Speaking at Drass, the CM said it was indicative of how much the state and the Centre were concerned about taking steps to mitigate the difficulties of the people of Ladakh region. He announced that during summer the highway would remain open round-the-clock. Considering the difficulties of the people in Ladakh region due to prolonged closure of the highway during winter, it had been the endeavour of the state Government for the last two-three years to prepone the road opening, he added. Azad said the tourist season in Kashmir had been advanced by about two months by creating facilities that could attract tourists much ahead of the beginning of the traditional tourist season. He referred to the laying out of the Asia’s largest tulip garden in Srinagar and increase in air flights to the state.