Press Information Bureau: October 16, 2020
Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and MSMEs Shri Nitin Gadkari initiated the ceremonial blasting for Zozila Tunnel in J&K today through VC. He said, the tunnel will provide all-weather connectivity between Srinagar valley and Leh (Ladakh plateau) on NH-1 and will bring about an all-round economic and socio–cultural integration of Jammu & Kashmir (Now UTs of J&K and Ladakh).
The Minister said, it involves construction of a 14.15 Km long tunnel at an altitude of about 3000 m under Zozila pass, presently motorable only for 6 months in a year, on NH-1 connecting Srinagar and Leh through Dras & Kargil. It is one of the most dangerous stretch in the world to drive a vehicle & this project is also geo-strategically sensitive. He said, this will be the longest tunnel of Asia, adding that It will improve socio economic scenario in region. Shri Gadkari informed that about Rs. 4000 crore (US$ 545.65 million) were saved with the re-designing of this tunnel. The Minister emphasized that with honest efforts, we can take our country forward at lower costs. Shri Gadkari also expressed confidence that the project, though has six years' completion schedule, will be completed before end of present Government's tenure with Prime Minister inaugurating the same.
He assured formation of committees under LG Leh and LG J&K with respective Chief Secretaries and officers of MoRTH, NHIDCL, etc to oversee tunnel works and to sort out local issues.
Shri Gadkari informed that seven tunnel roads are under construction in the Jammu and Kashmir region. He said, construction of the 8450-metre-long twin-tube tunnel between Qazigund and Banihal will be completed by the coming March. Thereafter, the work on 2968-metre-long 6-single tunnels road between Ramban and Banihal is due for completion in December 2021. Further, the 450-metre-long tunnel between Khilani and Kishtwar will be ready by June 2022.
The Minister further informed that DPRs have been completed for the 4.5 km long Chenani-Anantnag tunnel, the 10.2 km long tunnel at Sinthan Pass at a cost of 4,600 crore (US$ 627.49 million), the 350 crore (US$ 47.74 million) Khakhlani Byepass tunnel, and the 10 km long tunnel between Chhatru and Anantnag at a cost of Rs. 5,400 crore (US$ 736.62 million) and will be put to tender very soon.
Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.