India has constructed and black-topped the highest motorable road in the world at 19,300 ft at Umlingla Pass in Eastern Ladakh, creating a record in high-altitude road construction.
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has constructed the 52-km long tarmac road through Umlingla Pass, bettering the previous record of a road in Bolivia connecting to its volcano Uturuncu at 18,953 ft.
The road now connects the important towns in Chumar sector of Eastern Ladakh. It will prove to be a boon to the local population as it offers an alternate direct route connecting Chisumle and Demchok from Leh. It will enhance the socio-economic condition and promote tourism in Ladakh.
Infrastructure development in such harsh and tough terrain is extremely challenging. During the winter, the temperature dips to -40 degrees and the oxygen level at this altitude is almost 50 per cent less than at normal places. The BRO has achieved the feat due to the grit and resilience of its personnel who work in treacherous terrain and extreme weather conditions.
The road has been constructed at an altitude higher than the Mt Everest Base Camps as the South Base Camp in Nepal is at an altitude of 17,598 ft, while North Base Camp in Tibet is at 16,900 ft. The road has been constructed much above the altitude of Siachen Glacier which is at 17,700 ft. The Khardung La Pass in Leh is at an altitude of 17,582 ft.