Task Force visits Zanskar

Earlier this month the Union Home Ministry's Task Force on Ladakh visited Zanskar to assess development needs of Kargil's 'deprived' Sub-division. The visit is documented in the Daily Excelsior and appears to have focused on interaction with locals in Padum. Demands were made for completion of Zanskar Hydel project - something I am not familiar with, but I will find out more.

[addition on 04/12/10 - the Zanskar Hydel project referred to above is the existing plant at Sani. Apparently there is a possibility of expanding the existing infrastructure. The Chutuk project on the Suru River is also planned to provide some power for Zanskar, presumably on the Suru side of the Pensi La, and there are rumours that hydro electricity will also find its way into Zanskar from Saspol. Some villages in Zanskar have already started erecting poles in anticipation.]

Two weeks earlier at the end of October Union Home Minister P Chidambaram also conducted a tour of Ladakh, focusing on security and reconstruction after the August flooding. During this visit he was also lobbied on the long-overdue renovation of the Kargil - Padum road link. Speedy development of the region as a whole was assured.

Mention of resurrecting the unreliable helicopter service to link the remoter areas of Kargil District has also been made this month. A Flight or two usually ferries Zanskaris home once the Pensi La closes but after this initial flurry activity usually tails off.

Pensi La remains open

We are at the end of November and the Pensi La remains open to vehicular traffic. Zanskaris are apparently enjoying this late connectivity undertaking business in Kargil and Leh with a view to returning by road, probably in time for Losar on the 6th December. It can't be long though until winter closes the pass, snow could fall at any time now.