Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting and Youth Affairs and Sports, Shri Anurag Singh Thakur reached Sonamarg yesterday evening on a two day visit to district Ganderbal under Union Government's Public Outreach Programme.On day one, the Minister conducted inspection of Zojila and Z-Morh tunnel projects. During his visit to Zojila Tunnel, which is envisaged to provide all weather connectivity to Union Territory of Ladakh, the concerned officers said that the work on Zojila Tunnel is in full capacity and NHIDCL is geared up to continue the work in winter months. The Minister stressed for putting in every effort in place to complete the project well before the schedule date.Speaking on the occasion, the Minister expressed his satisfaction on the work progress and said that the Zojila tunnel is of a significant importance with regard to national security, development and tourism for both UTs of J&K and Ladakh as it will provide round the year connectivity to Ladakh region- Kargil and Leh. He further highlighted various important tunnel, rail and road projects of the country that were completed on priority by the Government keeping in mind border security alongside development and said varous infrastructure development projects are going on in full swing throughout J&K from last few years to boost the socio-economic development in J&K.
Important to mention, the project site of Zojila tunnel is located at existing highway (NH-01) starting from Sonamarg (UT of J&K) and ending at Minamarg (UT of Ladakh) at an elevation ranging from 2700m to 3300m, thus making the Zojila Tunnel (13.2 km) the longest tunnel at this elevation in Asia region. The present site location falls into seismic zone IV and all precautionary measures have been provisioned to safeguard the structures provisioned in the project.While inspecting the work progress of Z-Morh tunnel, the officials of NHIDCL informed the Minister that the project is being executed on DBFOT mode with an approximate cost of Rs 2378 crore.Regarding physical progress, the Minister was informed that the breakthrough of Escape tunnel has already been achieved on 16 September, 2021 besides the work in the main tunnel which is 6412 meters long for regular bi-directional traffic is going on in full swing and its breakthrough is expected before the forthcoming winter season.While discussing the provisions for safe movement of traffic, the Minister was informed that lay byes, motor and pedestrian cross passages, fire fighting niches and SOS communication are kept for safe movement of traffic even during emergency situations.Expressing satisfaction over the work 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.Deputy Commissioner Ganderbal, Krittika Jyotsna, SSP Ganderbal Nihal Borker and other officers were present on the occasion.