Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadakari has said that extensive road network in the Himalayan region will help in boosting the tourism sector in the region. He said this will provide huge employment opportunities, reduce poverty and strengthen the local economy.
Mr. Gadakari today reviewed and inspected the construction work of Z Morh tunnel and Zojila tunnel in Jammu and Kashmir. After reviewing the progress of these tunnels, Mr. Gadakari said, works are under progress in 31 tunnels having the total length of 53 km in the Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh region. He said, one lakh 40 thousand crore rupees are being spent on the development of road infrastructure in these regions.
Terming the road infrastructure centre of socio economic growth, the Minister said, 969 km of National Highways have been built in the last seven years in Jammu and Kashmir. Highlighting the importance of Z Morh and Zojila tunnel, Mr. Gadakari said, these tunnels will provide seamless connectivity in the extreme snowfall season in winter season.
Taking to AIR News about the strategic importance of these tunnels, Commandant of CRPF Battalion in Ganderbal Dr. Satyaveer Verma said, these tunnels will help in providing necessary logistics to the Army.
The length of Zojila tunnel is 14.15 km and Z Morh tunnel is 6.5 km. Once completed, Zojila tunnel will be India’s longest road tunnel and Asia’s longest bi-directional tunnel built at an altitude of 11 thousand 578 feet. A connecting tunnel from Z Morh on the National Highways one to Zojila tunnel will be constructed in the Zojila ghats between Sonmarg and Kargil.
AIR correspondent reports, after the abrogation of Article 370, the newly formed Union Territory Jammu and Kashmir is scaling a new height in the development of infrastructure. The Central Government has given a new impetus to the construction of new Highways, tunnels and bridges which will bring transformative changes in the lives of people in the near future. Zozila and Z Morh tunnel are one of such projects. Once completed, these tunnels will provide all weather connectivity to those areas which face connectivity issue during the extreme snowfall season.
The seamless connectivity will also ensure smooth movement of army and military vehicles during the extreme weather conditions. This will improve the strategic capabilities of Indian Army on the Indo-China and Indo-Pakistan boarder. Zozila tunnel will connect the Leh-Ladakh region to Srinagar. Once the tunnel is completed, travel time and distance between Srinagar and Ladakh will be significantly reduced. Besides, Z Morh tunnel will connect the Srinagar to Sonamarg with all weather road connectivity.
It will further improve the tourism sector in the area especially in the winter season. It is expected that this tunnel will be opened in this winter. These projects will ensure an integrated development of both the Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh region in the coming years.