Union Minister for Road, Highways and transport, Nitin Gadkari along with Jammu and Kashmir LG Manoj Sinha and other MPs of parliamentary consultative committee for Roads and Highways today arrived in Kashmir to see the progress of Indias most important Zojila Tunnel project at the Baltal area of Sonamarg in central Kashmir. Union Minister took review of work being done in prestigious Zojila Tunnel which connect Kashmir to Ladakh. The work is ongoing in fast pace and the construction work on Asia’s longest, high altitude 13 KM’s Zojila tunnel, in central Kashmir’s Sonmarg area, will be completed by 2026.
The tunnel is important for the defence forces in Ladakh, who have been flown in using air force during winter. In case of any eventuality, more army men and ammunition could be sent to the union territory. The Project will also help the people of Ladakh and Kargil and keep them connected with the rest of the country for the whole year which usually remains cut-off for months together during winters.
श्रीनगर – लेह राजमार्ग पर (NH-1) भूस्थैतिक रूप से महत्वपूर्ण जेड-मोड़ टनल का आज जम्मू और कश्मीर के उपराज्यपाल श्री @manojsinha_ जी तथा सड़क परिवहन और राजमार्ग के संसदीय सलाहकार समिति के सदस्य सांसद की उपस्थिति में मुआयना किया।
After taking review of the ongoing work at Zojila Tunnel Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said that “The tunnel project was tendered five times and on the fifth time not only the project was allotted but at a cost lower by 5K crores from the initial 12 K. This tunnel is part of one India project where government intended to connect Kashmir to Kanyakumari”.
Gadkari said “The project is difficult, and the engineers are working in temperatures of minus 26. While 38 percent is completed, other parts of the project are already commissioned. The tunnel will greatly help in economic development of the region” he said.
Gadkari further added that “at the time of Kargil war, the dream of tunnel was envisaged by Atal Bihari Bajpayee and am happy the project is being completed. The area is where war has taken place and the project will enhance defence deployment too”. He said “We have already 2.5 lakh crore for tunnel projects and will construct more tunnels on demand of the state government. We are already trying to bring down the cost of construction”.
Besides Zojila Nitin Gadkari also visited the Z-Morh tunnel, which is around 11 km’s ahead of Zojila. The 6.5 Km Z-Morh tunnel is the part of Zojila tunnel project on NH1 which connects Sonamarg with Srinagar. “The work on this tunnel is almost completed and will be thrown open for public in October this year” said Gadkari and added that “with the opening of this Z-Morh tunnel the famous tourist destination Sonmarg will be open for whole year and tourists can visit this place during peak snowfall as well”.
The sonmarg area was usually remaining cut off for Month or more during heavy snowfall in Kashmir due to which the tourism sector of this area used to be badly hit. Now with the opening of this tunnel the tourism sector of Sonmarg area will get big boost and tourists visiting Kashmir will have another Gulmarg like tourist place during winters.