The Srinagar-Leh closed after a single day of operation , and anonymous engineers were clearly unhappy with the decision to throw it open at this early point :
“The Army and the government wanted to open the highway earlier so we did as asked. But it’s a premature decision,” an engineer said. The same sources went on to say that avalanches may still be triggered in the coming weeks , and advised travellers to rethink early ventures over the pass.
Hundreds of passengers on the first run spent hours in high cold conditions waiting for the road to be cleared once more , and were less than enthusiastic. Weather reports talks about intermittent rain and snow , creating ideal circumstances for slush avalanches.
Areas around Zoji La have received a half meter of snow , with some avalanches as a result. The official word now is that re-clearing the road will require up two more days , and it will open only after BEACON engineers can vouchsafe a low avalanche risk :
“We cannot compromise with the lives of passengers,” in the words of project engineer A.K. Bhotany.
Sources : Tribune and Daily Excelsior , April 16th