LEH: Work on the ambitious Zojila tunnel project is progressing at a remarkable pace, with nearly 7 kilometres of excavation completed out of the total 13.154 kilometres, officials said.
They said Megha Engineering and Infrastructures Ltd. are diligently working to ensure the timely completion of this vital infrastructural marvel that promises to revolutionize connectivity in the region.
Harpal Singh, Project Manager, told that significant progress has been made, including the completion of two major bridges, with a third 460-metre bridge currently under construction and slated for completion in early December this year.
The Zojila tunnel, touted as the longest of its kind in Asia and situated at the highest altitude, is set to reduce the travel time across the Zojila pass from a daunting four hours to a mere 15 minutes.
Initiated in 2021 and awarded in August 2020, the project encompasses two twin-tube tunnels, four bridges, two snow galleries, and 2.3 kilometres of cut-and-cover structures.
“Upon completion, the distance from Baltal to Minimarg will shrink from 40 kilometres to just 13 kilometres, easing the journey and saving commuters over an hour and a half. The tunnel is poised to bring about integrated development for both the Union Territories,” Singh said.
Saleem Ahmad, a labourer from the Kangan area of Ganderbal, said despite numerous challenges, they have relentlessly toiled in adverse weather conditions. “We have courageously overcome setbacks and continued our work with determination. We have braved harsh cold and snowstorms, but we are optimistic that our perseverance will yield fruitful results,” he said.
The Zojila tunnel will be a game-changer, ensuring all-weather connectivity between Ladakh and Kashmir. During winter, the Zojila pass is impassable due to heavy snow and avalanches. Once operational, this tunnel will enhance safety and dramatically reduce travel time from over three hours to a mere 20 minutes.
Earlier this year, on April 10, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari along with Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Manoj Sinha, inspected the Zojila Tunnel, emphasising its significance in establishing all-weather connectivity for Ladakh.
The completion of the tunnel will not only transform travel dynamics but will also play a pivotal role in Ladakh’s development, boost tourism, facilitate the free movement of local goods, and ensure swift mobilisation of Indian armed forces during emergencies. (KNO)
- December 5, 2023