Sikkim: Army develops road along Nathula Pass to boost tourism, trade
Indian army personnel deployed under Project SWASTIK of the defence ministry’s Border Roads Organisation (BRO) undertook the task of improving quality and safety of the 74KM Jawahar Lal Nehru Marg (JNM) in Sikkim.
The JNM is a strategic road that is pivotal to armed forces deployed in East Sikkim along the China border. This road is also used for tourism around Nathula Pass and Harbhajan Baba Mandir, for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra and for conducting trade with China.
After the formation of BRO, in May 1964, JNM was handed over from CPWD to BRO. Due to its strategic and socio-economic importance, BRO has been working relentlessly to upgrade it from C1-5 to Cl-9, and subsequently to NHDL specification.
In order to avoid landslides, this stretch of the road has been modified to realign away from vulnerable spots. The riding surface of this road which had deteriorated over time owing to heavy rainfall has also been fixed by the ‘Brave Karmyogis’ of Project SWASTIK.
According to army sources, future plans for the JNM include curve improvement, installation of various road safety measures, cautionary road marking, installation of dynamic caution boards and resurfacing work.
The tasks of road improvement were divided into two. The completed Phase-I tasks improved the road stretch between Tashi view point and Mandakini waterfall. The remaining work to be completed includes the stretch between Madakini waterfall and Sherathang stretch and has started as Phase II of the project.
The road improvement has resulted in a reduction of travel time for tourists around Nathula Pass. Notably, Project SWASTIK, led by Lieutenant General Rajeev Chaudhry, VSM, Director General Border Roads, has helped boost the influx of tourists towards East Sikkim.