Prime Minister, Narendra Modi formally kickstarted commencement of work on the mega Zojila tunnel project here today.Governor, N N Vohra; Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti; Union Minister for Roads & Highways, Nitin Gadkari; Deputy Chief Minister, Kanvinder Gupta; Minister of State in PMO, Dr. Jitendra Singh; Chairman, Legislative Council, Haji Anayat Ali; Minister for Public Works & Culture, Naeem Akhtar; Minister for Cooperatives & Ladakh Affairs, T. Dorjey; Member Parliament, Thupsen Chewang; Chairman, LAHDC, Leh, Thupsen Motup; Chief Secretary, B B Vyas; Director General of Police, Dr. S P Vaid; Executive Councillors; officers and a large number of people were present on the occasion.The 14.2 kilometre long tunnel would be constructed at a cost of Rs.6809 crore and would be completedin seven years. On its completion, the tunnel would lessen the travel time on Srinagar-Kargil-Leh road from 3.30 hours to just 15 minutes.Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti said the construction of the Zojila tunnel would cut down the psychological divide between people of different regions in the State by a great measure. She said the tunnel would not only increase the tourism activities in Ladakh region but also the communication between students, traders and common masses and it would give a major relief to local people who would be at the mercy of harsh winters during closure of the Srinagar-Kargil-Leh Highway in winters.
Mehbooba Mufti said her Governent is committed towards the development of all regions in the State on equal footing and in this regard historic steps have been taken by her Government. She said construction of Zojila tunnel was the commitment of her Government towards the people of Ladakh and today she is happy to see that commitment getting fulfilled on ground. This is also a commitment made in the Agenda of Alliance which my Government is fulfilling, she added. She hoped the tunnel would get completed within the shortest possible time so that it not only bridges the geographical barriers between the regions but also the economic and psychological barriers between its people.Paying rich tributes to late Koshak Bakula, the Chief Minister described him as the architect of modern Ladakh whose contribution in the social, educational and political development of the region can never be forgotten. She also complimented the people of the region for their honesty, hospitality and simple way of life.Mehbooba Mufti said the region has a great scope for winter sports and the youth from Ladakh have displayed their sporting talent at ample times. She pitched for construction of two high quality indoor stadia at Leh and Kargil so that the sporting activity becomes a round the year affair in the region.Earlier, the Prime Minister arrived at a day’s visit to the State. He was received at the Leh airport by Governor, N N Vohra; Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti; Deputy Chief Minister, Kanvinder Gupta; Chairman, Legislative Council, Haji Anayat Ali; Minister for Public Works & Culture, Naeem Akhtar; Minister for Cooperatives & Ladakh Affairs, T. Dorjey; Member Parliament, Thupsen Chewang; Chairman, LAHDC, Leh, Dorjey Motup; Chief Secretary, B B Vyas; Director General of Police, Dr. S P Vaid; Executive Councillors; senior officers and a large number of people.