The Indian Union government has given the green light for the construction of a 4.1-km tunnel under the Shinkun La, a strategically important pass on the border between Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh. The tunnel is intended to provide alternate, all-weather connectivity to Ladakh, a region currently experiencing military tensions with China, and will enable troops and heavy weaponry to be quickly and safely moved to forward areas.
The twin tube tunnel, which will not be vulnerable to long-range artillery shelling or missile firings from China or Pakistan, will be constructed by the Border Roads Organization at a cost of Rs 1,681.5 crore, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2025. Union minister Anurag Thakur announced the decision of the Prime Minister-led cabinet committee on security.
The new all-weather connectivity to western Ladakh and Zanskar Valley will be established directly from the Manali axis through a 298-km NHDL (national highway double lane) specification road that will be ready by 2026. This will significantly reduce travel times compared to the existing routes passing through Zoji La from Srinagar.