At stone’s throw away distance from Chinese border, India has constructed world’s highest motorable road in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.
At the height of over 19,300 feet, the Border Roads Organisation or BRO has constructed the 86 km long strategic road under the ‘Project Himank’.
Building the road at an altitude of over 19,300 feet was a herculean task and BRO personnel had to face life-threatening challenges while building the highest motorbike road.
"During peak summers, temperature hovers around minus 10-20 degrees Celsius, and in winters, it dips to minus 40 degrees. Oxygen level at the altitude is 50 per cent less than at normal places," Brigadier DM Purvimath, chief engineer, Project Himank said.
"Efficiency of machines and manpower declines by 50 per cent due to harsh climate and less oxygen level. Also, machine operators have to come down every 10 minutes for oxygen," he said.
Purvimath said, BRO personnel involved in the project had to face serious health problems including loss of memory, eyesight and high blood pressure.
"Such a construction does not come without a cost, but given the national and strategic importance of the road, our men and machinery worked overnight to meet the targets set out by Director General, Border Roads," he said.
Passing through Umlingla Top, the road connects Chisumle and Demchok villages, located 230 km from Leh. These villages are located in close proximity from the India-China border in eastern sector, a spokesman of BRO said.