Efforts to open Zojila Tunnel ahead of deadline: Gadkari
Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Transport and Roadways, said during an inspection of the strategically vital Zojila Tunnel, which connects the Kashmir Valley with the Union Territory of Ladakh, that it will fulfill the ambition of having an all-weather route from Kashmir to Kanyakumari.
Points to Ponder:
- The tunnel is strategically significant since it would realize the ideal of an all-weather road connecting Kashmir and Kanyakumari.
- Attempts are being made to open the tunnel to traffic before the 2026 deadline.
- During the Kargil war between India and Pakistan, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee stressed the need of uniting Kashmir and Ladakh.
The tunnel will enable all-weather access between Srinagar Valley and Leh (Ladakh plateau) on NH-1 and will bring about an all-around economic and socio-cultural unification of Jammu & Kashmir (Now UTs of J&K and Ladakh). The term “responsibility” refers to the act of determining whether or not a person is responsible for the actions of another person. It is one of the most dangerous stretches of road in the world, and this project is also geo-strategically critical.
Significance of the tunnel:
- The development of the Zojila Tunnel would result in all-around economic and socio-cultural integration of these regions, which are cut off from the rest of the country during the winter due to severe snowfall for nearly six months.
- At the moment, the only plausible option for year-round road connectivity is a tunnel in Zojila. When completed, this tunnel will represent a watershed moment in modern Indian history. It will also be critical to the country’s defense, given the significant military activity taking place along our borders in the Ladakh, Gilgit, and Baltistan regions.
- The Zojila Tunnel project will fulfill 30 years of tremendous popular demand in the Kargil, Drass, and Ladakh regions.
- The project would improve the safety of travelers traversing the Zojila Pass and cut travel time from more than 3 hours to 15 minutes.