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‘Zojila Tunnel a Historic Milestone’ : Nitin Gadkari Hails Project’s Inauguration

Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Transport and Highways, recently visited the ongoing work of the strategically important Zojila tunnel in Kashmir’s Sonmarg. The tunnel is part of a dream to connect the Kashmir valley with Kanyakumari, and the completion of the ? 4,900 crore 13-kilometre-long tunnel, Asia’s longest, is expected to be in 2026. The closure of the Srinagar-Ladakh highway during winter has had severe impacts on both civilians and the army in the Union Territory. Once completed, the Zojila tunnel will provide all-weather connectivity to Ladakh, making it a game-changer for the region that has been facing a prolonged standoff between the army and the Chinese military since June 2020.


According to the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, the average travel time to cross the Zojila Pass is approximately three hours, but this tunnel will reduce it to just 20 minutes. Gadkari described the project as ‘historic and important in the history of India,’ and stated that it is the’ highest tunnel length in Asia.’ He further added, ‘This is a historic and important tunnel in the history of India. The tunnel length is supposed to be the highest in Asia,’ after inspecting the work on the site at an altitude of over 11,500 feet.


In addition to the Zojila tunnel, at least 19 other tunnels are being constructed in Jammu and Kashmir at a cost of ? 25,000 crore, mainly between the Nashri and Banihal section, which is vulnerable to landslides, causing frequent closure of the road. The 4-laning of the highway was expected to be completed by 2016, but it has missed several deadlines and recorded cost overruns.


During his visit, Gadkari also announced that the Z-Morh tunnel, which connects Gagangir with Sonamarg and provides all-weather connectivity to the resort in the Ganderbal district of central Kashmir, will be inaugurated in October this year. Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha accompanied Gadkari to the under-construction Zojila tunnel.


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