Zojila Tunnel Important For National Security, Development Of J-K, Ladakh: Union Minister26 September 2021
Srinagar: The Zojila tunnel is important for national security as well as for development and tourism in the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh as it will provide round-the-year connectivity, Union Minister Anurag Singh Thakur has said. During his visit to the tunnel, which is envisaged to provide all-weather connectivity to Ladakh, officers said that work on it is in full swing and the NHIDCL is geared up to continue construction even in winter months. The Union minister for information and broadcasting reached Sonamarg in central Kashmir's Ganderbal district on Saturday evening on a two-day visit under the Centre's public outreach programme. On the first day, Thakur conducted an inspection of the Zojila and the Z-Morh tunnel projects. The minister stressed on putting in every effort to complete the projects well before the schedule deadline. Expressing satisfaction on the progress made in the projects, he said that the Zojila tunnel is of significant importance with regard to national security, development and tourism for both Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh as it will provide round-the-year connectivity to Kargil and Leh. He also highlighted important tunnel, rail and road projects that were completed on priority by the government keeping in mind border security alongside development. Various infrastructure development projects are going on in full swing throughout Jammu and Kashmir for the last few years to boost the socio-economic development, Thakur said. The project site of the Zojila tunnel is located on National Highway-01, starting from Sonamarg in Jammu and Kashmir and ending at Minamarg in Ladakh) at an elevation ranging from 2,700m to 3,300m, making it the longest tunnel (13.2 km) at this elevation in the Asia region. The present site location falls in seismic zone IV and all precautionary measures have been taken to safeguard structures, officials said. While inspecting the progress of work at the Z-Morh tunnel, officials of NHIDCL informed the minister that the project is being executed on DBFOT mode at an approximate cost of Rs 2,378 crore. Regarding the physical progress, the minister was informed that the breakthrough of the escape tunnel was achieved on September 16. The work on the main tunnel, which is 6,412 m long and for regular bi-directional traffic, is going on in full swing and its breakthrough is expected before the forthcoming winter season, the officials said. The minister was also informed abou various safety features if the tunnel. Expressing satisfaction over the progress, the minister said the Z-Morh tunnel will facilitate locals and tourists to access Sonamarg during the winter season as well and will facilitate socio-economic boost to the J-K in general and locals in particular.