updated 1:46 AM GMT, May 23, 2015

  • Published in Others

The isolated world of Ladakh is set to be opened up for all weather if a push for accessibility by a group of youth is successful. A group of youth mostly from the twin districts of Ladakh i.e. Leh and Kargil, are calling for the quick construction of the all-weather Zojila tunnel connecting Ladakh to Kashmir valley and the outer world.

The youth formed a focus group called Zojila Watch, to create greater urgency for the tunnel, to foresee the developments and to disseminate the information to the local and others so as to generate a wider public awareness of the need for it.

The group have written to the President of India through an online campaign to push for greater accessibility to the Ladakh area.

“Many young people got behind the initiative and wrote to the presidents online,” the group states in an online group posting.

Zojila Watch continue to campaign online through social networking sites like Facebook, which has over 500 members. One of the member of the group said, it was the ideal place for the group to mobilise youths working and studying in different parts of the country on a common platform and share issues related to the Zojila tunnel.

The founding members of the group include Javed Naqi (Kindling Accessibility Initiatives in Ladakh/JNU), Mustafa Haji (Nalsar University of Law), Muzaffar Hussain (Jawaharlal Nehru University), Shahnawaz  Ali (Aligarh Muslim University), Shakeel Ahmad (University of Jammu), Syed Sajjad (CHUMS Kargil).


Members also include academicians, journalists, well-known activists including Prof. Lakhan Gusain (John Hopkins University, USA), Kate Shuttleworth (Journalist and Activist, New Zealand), Wilfred D’ Costa (General Secretary, Indian Social Action Forum), Narendra Chowdhary (Senior Journalist and Vice President PUCL, AP), Zaheer A Bagh (TV Today Network), Meha Dixit (Independent Freelancer) and Prakash Ray (Activist and Researcher, Jawaharlal Nehru University).

Ladakh is connected to the Kashmir valley and rest of the world via Zojila pass, which becomes inaccessible for six months in winters due to heavy snowfall. This isolation results in great loses in terms of education, health, rural infrastructure and most importantly sustainability. The people of Ladakhi especially Kargil have been demanding construction of a tunnel through the Zojila pass or an all weather road for decades. Even almost four years since the Zojila tunnel project was approved yet not much has been done and Ladakh continues to be isolated from the outer world.


(Writer is founder and working committee member of ZOJILA WATCH)

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  • tsewang

    There are more inaccessible place within ladakh.The attemp should be far flung and most back ward area within Ladakh be made accessible.For instance Zanskar<br />region within Kargil district need to get well connected.<br />Why are people in Kargil so biased for Zanskar if they care let them voice for Ladakh-Padum-Darcha-Manali route which will be more politically stable.Well route via Kashmir will be a gamble for Govt. of India.So let them stress on Ladakh Manali route rather than this one or voice concern for both alternative route.

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  • Mumtaz Ahmad Numani

    Zojila Watch: a campaign to connect youth is a fruitful process that should be given a wider acceptance through-out the Valley of Kashmir. Indeed, it should open an easy access to run more fruitfully. I [Mumtaz] am personally happy to know about it from Dr. Vedwayas (who is one of the self-styled patron to launch this campaign). Hope it will work as a notion to bring some fruitful changes...we need.

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