The Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways has decided to initiate the first blasting for Zojila Tunnel in Jammu & Kashmir.
- The tunnel will provide all-weather connectivity between Srinagar valley and Leh (Ladakh plateau) on NH-1.
- It will bring about an all-round economic and socio-cultural integration of Jammu & Kashmir (now UTs of J&K and Ladakh).
- It involves the construction of a 14.15 Km long tunnel at an altitude of about 3000 m under Zojila pass on NH-1 connecting Srinagar and Leh through Dras & Kargil.
- The project was first conceived in 2005 and its Detailed Project Report (DPR) was prepared by Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in the year 2013 on BOT (Annuity) mode.
- The Project was eventually given to NHIDCL in July 2016 for implementation on EPC mode.
- The tunnel shall bring about all-round economic and socio-cultural integration of these regions which remains cut-off from the rest of the country during winters due to heavy snowfall for about six months.
- The tunnel in Zojila is the only viable alternative at present for a full year connectivity road.
- It will also be of great importance to the Defence of the country, in view of the fact that massive military activities along our borders in Ladakh, Gilgit, and Baltistan regions are taking place.
- Zojila Tunnel project shall bring to fruition, 30 years of overwhelming public demand of Kargil, Drass, and Ladakh region.
- The Project will make the travel on Srinagar-Kargil-Leh Section of NH-1 free from avalanches.
- The project would enhance the safety of the travelers crossing Zojila Pass and would reduce the Travel time from more than 3 hours to 15 minutes.
- It is a high mountain pass in the Himalayas in the Indian union territory of Ladakh.
- The pass connects the Kashmir Valley to its west with the Drass and Suru valleys to its northeast and the Indus valley further east.
- The National Highway-1 between Srinagar and Leh in the western section of the Himalayan mountain range traverses the pass.
Source: Hindustan Times