An MoU was signed on 24 January 2018
between National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL)
under the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, and M/S IL&FS
Transportation Networks Ltd for construction of the 14.150 km
long, 2-lane bi-directional Zojila Tunnel in Jammu & Kashmir .
This would be India’s longest road tunnel
and the longest bi-directional tunnel in Asia. The construction of
this tunnel will provide all weather connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil and
Leh and will bring about all round economic and socio-cultural integration of
these regions. The project has strategic and socio-economic importance and will
be an instrument for the development of the economically backward districts in
Jammu & Kashmir.
The project aims at construction of
14.150 km long two lane bidirectional single tube tunnel with a parallel 14.200
km long egress tunnel between Baltaland Minamarg in the state of J&K. The
total capital cost of the project is Rs 6808.69 crore.
.The tunnel is said to
be a first of its kind in such geographical area and it is also said to be ‘an
engineering marvel’ with all modern technical safety arrangements.
Speaking on the occasion Shri Nitin
Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water
Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation urged the construction
company to try to complete the project ‘faster than seven years assigned for it
so that the benefits can reach the people of the region at the earliest. He
also urged the company to explore whether it is technically feasible to lay
railway tracks in the tunnel along with the road’ the official release said.