The Border Road Organization has fast tracked the construction work on the Shinku-La Tunnel in the Himalayan Pass located at about 16,580ft height above the sea level. Once the work on the Shinku-la tunnel is complete, it will be among the top high altitude highway tunnels in the world, beating Atal tunnel which runs at around 10,000 ft altitude. The length of this new Darcha-Shinkula pass – Padum-Nimu highway will be around 297 km. The Shinku-la (pass) that connects Himachal Pradesh’s Lahaul valley with the Zanskar valley in the Union territory of Ladakh takes the route across Darcha-Shinkula-Padum-Nimu and is an alternative that connects Leh Ladakh with the state of Himachal Pradesh. It is the third highway connecting Ladakh with the mainland, the other two being the Srinagar-Kargil-Leh and Manali-Sarchu-Leh highways.
The major advantage of the ongoing work on the Darcha-Padum-Nimu Road will be that it will be an all-weather route once the Shinku-la tunnel work is completed and will facilitate the army and civilian movements even in winter months. Another advantage is that Shinku-la will be the only pass on this way, unlike the Manali-Sarchu-Leh highway that has many high-altitude mountain passes with low oxygen content, making travelling risky at certain locations.