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Rajnath Singh inaugurates new road to Kailash Mansarovar

Except for a 5-km trek on the Chinese side across Lipulekh Pass, the complete travel will now be on vehicles. | File

Except for a 5-km trek on the Chinese side across Lipulekh Pass, the complete travel will now be on vehicles. | File   | Photo Credit: PTI

Travel time for yatris set to come down significantly

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday dedicated to the nation a new 80-km road in Uttarakhand which connects close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and opens a new route for Kailash Mansarovar yatra via Lipulekh Pass, significantly reducing the travel time for yatris.

Also read | Sikkim not to host Kailash Yatra through Nathu La

“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. Also flagged off a convoy of vehicles from Pithoragarh to Gunji through video conferencing,” Mr. Singh said in a tweet.

Talking of the advantages, a defence source said, “The biggest advantage of the new route over the earlier ones is that it is the shortest and cheapest route with just one-fifth distance of road travel as compared to others. There is no air travel involved and majority of the travel, 84%, is in India and only 16% in China compared to other routes where 80% road travel is in China.”

Also read | In Manasarovar, Chinese lend a helping hand to Indian pilgrims

Also, except for a 5-km trek on the Chinese side across Lipulekh Pass, the complete travel will now be on vehicles. “So, a five-day trek will reduce to two days of road travel. To and fro, six days are likely to be saved,” the source stated. This means that yatris can travel up to 5 km from the border on vehicles and make the first night halt at Gunji for Stage-I acclimatisation and second halt near Lipulekh Pass for Stage-II acclimatisation.

Also read | A 24-day gruelling trek to Mount Kailash in Tibet

Earlier, after reaching Ghatiabgarh via Pitharogarh, it was 79 km or five days of foot trek to Lipulekh Pass. Pitharogarh is 490 km from Delhi. Lipulekh pass at 17,000 feet is close to the tri-junction of India, China and Nepal.

The new 80 km-long greenfield road from Ghatiabgarh to Lipulekh was made under directions of the China Study Group (CSG) and is funded by Indo-China Border Road (ICBR) and is scheduled to be completed by December 2022. This road was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) in 2005 at a cost of ₹80.76 crore and in 2018 the cost was revised to ₹439.40 crore.

The road was completed up to 5 km short of Lipulekh pass on April 17, 2020. The last bit could not be finished due to a temporary ban placed on last-mile connectivity in 2016 by the Director General Military Operations, which is yet to be lifted. “If approved, work on last-mile connectivity to Lipulekh Pass will commence by mid-May (post snow clearance) and will be completed this year,” the source added.

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Printable version | Jul 10, 2020 1:02:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/rajnath-singh-inaugurates-new-road-to-kailash-mansarovar/article31533372.ece

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