Ladakh’s Umling La Pass becomes the highest motorable pass in the world

Published : November 17, 2021 11:15 IST

Border Road Organisation (BRO) labourers carry on construction works. Photo: Mohd Arhaan ARCHER / AFP / File Photo

India’s Border Roads Organisation (BRO) now has a world record to its credit for building the highest motorable road in the world. On November 16, the United Kingdom-based Guinness World Records recognised the BRO’s ‘Project Himank/753 BRTF’, which saw the construction of a 52-km motorable road that connects remote villages in eastern Ladakh and traverses the 5,798.251-metre-high (19023 feet) Umling La Pass, making it the highest motorable pass in the world. Incidentally, the road is at a higher altitude than the North and South Base Camps of Mount Everest, which are altitudes of 5,151m (16,900 ft) and 5,363.8m (17,598 ft) respectively.

The road betters the previously held record of a road in Bolivia, which connects the Uturuncu volcano and is at 5776.8 metres (18,953 feet). Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhry, Director General of the BRO, was presented the certificate from the Guinness World Records in a virtual ceremony, from the official adjudicator of the Guinness World Records, Rishi Nath. The recognition came after a rigorous four-month-long process during which five different surveyors verified the BRO’s claim.

Speaking on the occasion, Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhry highlighted the challenges faced by the BRO, an organisation which is made up of personnel from the Border Roads Engineering Service and the General Reserve Engineer Force, besides officers and troops on deputation/attachment from the Corps of Engineers and the Pioneer Corps. The construction, he said, “tested both the human spirit and the efficacy of machines in an extremely tough terrain where temperatures in winter dip to -40 degrees and oxygen levels are 50 per cent below normal”.

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