India plans tunnel in IOK that will connect Leh all year


New Delhi, Jan. 3 (TNS):  Indian government on Wednesday approved the Rs. 6,809-crore strategic Zojila pass tunnel project in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOK) to provide all-weather connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil and Leh, which remains cut-off from the rest of the world during winters due to heavy snowfall.

Zojila pass is situated at an altitude of 11,578 feet on Srinagar-Kargil-Leh Highway which remains closed during winters (December to April) due to heavy snowfall and avalanches cutting off Leh-Ladakh region from occupied Kashmir.

“IndianCabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its approval to the construction, operation and maintenance of 2-lane bi-directional Zojila Tunnel with Parallel Escape (Egress) Tunnel excluding approaches on Srinagar-Leh section connecting NH-1A at Km 95 and at Km 118 in [Indian occupied] Jammu and Kashmir on engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) mode,” Indian Ministry of Road Transport and Highways said in a statement.

The statement said apart from providing all weather connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil and Leh, the project will bring about all round economic and socio-cultural integration of these regions.

“The project has strategic and socio-economic importance and shall be an instrument for the development of the economically backward districts in [Indian occupied] Jammu and Kashmir,” it said.