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Take it as a challenge, complete Zojila tunnel by December 2023, Gadkari tells MEIL

Our Bureau Hyderabad | Updated on September 28, 2021

Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari and VK Singh review work on Zojila and Z-Morh tunnels, in Baltal, north-east of Srinagar   -  PTI

Gadkari and VK Singh, the Minister of State for Transport and Highways, visited the site to see the progress

Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari has urged MEIL to expedite work on the 14.15-km Zojila Tunnel, and to take it up as a “challenge and complete the project by December 2023” ahead of the 2026 deadline.

The Hyderabad-based Megha Engineering & Infrastructure Ltd is expediting the execution of the ₹4,600-crore project, connecting the Leh-Ladakh region to Srinagar.

Gadkari and VK Singh, the Minister of State for Transport and Highways, visited the site to see the progress.

Gadkari said that many more new projects worth ₹1-lakh crore are in the proposal stage and will help accelerate the development in the valley and boost the local economy. MEIL Managing Director PV Krishna Reddy and Director Ch Subbaiah and National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL) officials briefed the ministers and the team about the project progress and assured of early completion, according to a statement.

‘Crucial connectivity’

This project coming up at an altitude of 11,578 ft will provide all-weather connectivity to Leh against just five months access with the Srinagar-Ladakh highway closed from mid-November to April, cutting off this entire region from the rest of the world.

This pass will also provide easy movement of the Army vehicles. MEIL was awarded the project in October 2020 by the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation.

Constructing this tunnel project in the Himalayas is quite challenging, given the extremely harsh wheather and atmospheric conditions. Once completed, it will be India’s longest road tunnel, and Asia’s longest bi-directional tunnel. Several bridges are being constructed along this route and works are being executed at a brisk pace.

A connecting tunnel from Z-Morh on NH-1 to Zojila tunnel will also be built in the Zojila Ghats between Sonamarg and Kargil.

Published on September 28, 2021

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