Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday inaugurated the Link Road to Kailash Mansarovar yatra via video conferencing. The new road is expected to help pilgrims visiting Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet as it is around 90 kms from the Lipulekh pass.
Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat and Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Mukund Naravane were also present on the occasion.
"Delighted to inaugurate the Link Road to Mansarovar Yatra today. The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) achieved road connectivity from Dharchula to Lipulekh (China Border) known as Kailash-Mansarovar Yatra Route," Singh tweeted.
The Minister also flagged off a convoy of vehicles from Pithoragarh to Gunji.
The 80-km strategically crucial road connects the Lipulekh pass at a height of 17,000 feet along the border with China in Uttarakhand with Dharchula. Military officials said the road will also help in speedy movement of troops in the strategically key region bordering China.
Meanwhile, the Defence Ministry said the BRO in Uttarakhand has connected Kailash Mansarovar route to Lipulekh pass, which will provide connectivity to border villages and security forces.
"Border Roads Organisation connects Kailash Mansarovar Route to China Border. While combating Covid-19 pandemic, BRO in Uttarakhand has connected Kailash Mansarovar route to Lipulekh pass at a ht of 17,060 ft; thus providing connectivity to border villages and security forces," the Ministry tweeted.
With the inauguration of the strategically vital road, over 80-km of tough Himalayan terrain, between the Mangti camp near Tawaghat and Gunji in the Vyas valley, and the security posts on the Indian side of the border, has become accessible.
Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari had announced last year that the road will be completed by April 2020.
"While 51-km long portions, beyond Bundi, were constructed much earlier, followed by a 23-km long portion from Tawaghat to Lakhanpur, the most tough portion between Lakhanpur to Bundi posed challenges and took much time," BRO officer Goswami said.
The construction of the road began in 2008 and was scheduled to be completed in 2013, but it got delayed due to the tough terrain in the portion between Nazang to Bundi village.
"The 15-km long most challenging portion of the road from Nazang to Bundi was outsourced in 2015 to a private company under technical guidance of BRO engineers, which completed the portion despite all odds before the set date by the minister last year," said the BRO officer.