How vegetables reunited Ladakh with Kashmir this winter

A shop owned by a Kashmiri in Leh. Photos: Safeena Wani

The heat generated by the ongoing faceoff, intermittent skirmishes between the Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army of China along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, and massive troop build-up melted the territorial border this winter between Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.

Over two years after the central government bifurcated the state of Jammu and Kashmir into the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh, vegetables reunited the two.

Even though Ladakh faces a shortage of vegetables every year as the region remains cut off for at least four to five months during winter due to snowfall and barely grows any on its own due to harsh weather conditions, the demand for veggies increased manifold this year as supplies took a further hit from the border tension.

What helped, however, was the Centre’s decision to ensure that the snowbound Zojila Road remains functional even in winter months–in the wake of the tension along the border in eastern Ladakh. The road which the Indian Army used to replenish its supplies also helped Kashmiri traders take vegetables to people Ladakh.

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