Work on the Zozila Tunnel in J&K began on Thursday with ceremonial blasting by Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and MSMEs Nitin Gadkari. 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 and Ladakh.
Gadkari said that the project involves the 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 stretches 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 the socio-economic scenario in the region. Gadkari informed that about Rs 4000 crore 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. Gadkari also expressed confidence that the project, though has six years’ completion schedule, will be completed before the end of present Government’s tenure with Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurating the same.
Gadkari also 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.