Tenders for all weather Mughal road, Amarnath Marg in Kashmir to be floated this year: Nitin Gadkari

Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari on Monday inspected and reviewed the progress of the work on Z-Morh tunnel and Zojila tunnel in Sonamarg area on Srinagar-Leh highway stating that the completion of these projects will fulfil the dream of Kashmir to Kanyakumari connectivity.

The minister informed that the work on 6.5 kms long Z-Morh tunnel that connects Gagangir and Sonamarg on the Srinagar-Leh highway in Ganderbal district of central Kashmir is 75 percent complete and is likely to thrown partly open in October this year, which will ensure that the Sonamarg does not get disconnected due to snowfall in the next winters.

Gadkari, while reviewing the progress of 13.14 kms long Zojila tunnel, which is the Asia’s longest tunnel that connects Sonamarg with the Kargil in Ladakh, said that 38 percent work on this project is complete and the government will try to ensure the completion of work before the 2026 deadline.

The minister also announced that the tenders for 110 km long Amarnath Marg–leading to the holy Amarnath cave in Pahalgam of southern Kashmir–will be issued in July and October, with the cost of around Rs 5300 crore.

He said that the tenders for tunnels on the historic Mughal road connecting Poonch in Jammu with Shopian in Kashmir will also be announced this year which will ensure round the year connectivity on this road.

“This is the life line for J&K and Ladakh and will fulfil our imagination of Kashmir to Kanyakumari connectivity…National and international tourists rush will increase four times when these projects are complete and we will make this region better than Switzerland,” said Gadkari. He said that the tunnels will end the suffering of people in winters and they won’t need to stock material for winter months. The minister said that when the projects are complete the Prime Minister will come for inaugurations.

“The area of the Z-Morh tunnel is strategically important…it will promote social and economic development in the entire region. It will promote tourism in Sonamarg including activities like whitewater rafting on Thajiwas Glacier and Sindh River,” Gadkari said. With the construction of this Zojila tunnel by Megha Engineering and Infrastructures Limited there will be all-weather connectivity for Ladakh and the average travel time to cross the Zojila Pass will reduce from three hours to 20.0 minutes. “This tunnel will provide year-round connectivity between the Kashmir Valley and Ladakh, which will be extremely important for the development of Ladakh, promotion of tourism, free movement of local goods and movement of Indian armed forces in case of emergency,” he said.The Union minister said that developmental works worth Rs 1,25,000 crore are being taken up by his ministry in J&K and since 2014, around 500 km of road network has been completed in the region. He informed that 41 significant tunnels are being constructed in J&K and Ladakh at a cost of Rs 45,000 crore. Also, 18 ropeways worth Rs 5,000 crore will be constructed in the UT.

The minister also informed that for the journey between Jammu and Srinagar three corridors worth Rs 35,000 crores are being constructed, which will reduce the earlier distance of 320 kms by 70 kms and time travel will be reduced from ten hours to four to five hours. The ministers said that a new 78 km four-lane ring road is being constructed in Srinagar at a cost of Rs 4,660 crores as well.

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