Playing pivotal in East Sikkim’s defence along the China border, Jawahar Lal Nehru Marg (JNM) spans 47 kilometres as a strategic road for the deployed armed forces.
As part of Project SWASTIK by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) under the defence ministry, Indian army personnel took on the responsibility of enhancing the quality and safety of the 74KM Jawahar Lal Nehru Marg (JNM) in Sikkim.
The JNM is a strategic road 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, Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, and 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. As the road is located in a rainfall-prone area, frequent heavy rainfalls, which deteriorated the riding surface of the road, have 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 the Tashi viewpoint and Mandakini Waterfall. The remaining work to be completed includes the stretch between Madakini waterfall and Sherathang stretch, which has started as Phase II of the project.
The road improvement has resulted in a reduction in 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.