The Union Transport Minister, Shri Nitin Gadkari informed that the construction work on the 14.2 km long Zojila Tunnel connecting Sonmarg and Drass in Jammu and Kashmir under the Zojila pass in the Himalayas has been fast tracked and the project is destined for completion before 2024. The construction work of this landmark and strategically located signature project is progressing well and scheduled to be completed much before scheduled time.
This tunnel along with the 6.5 km long Z-Morh Tunnel will ensure year-round road connectivity between Srinagar and Kargil, which currently remains closed for seven months during winter due to heavy snowfall and avalanches. Once completed, it will increase the road connectivity and accessibility between the regions even during harsh weather conditions. Also, the time of traveling between Sonmarg and Drass will be reduced drastically. Currently, it takes more than three hours to cross the Zojila pass which is 15 km long and a vital link between Drass, Kargil and Ladakh.
The road project is not only one of the key projects considering civilian connectivity in the region, but also a strategic requirement for the army as well, as the region is close to the Line of Control (LOC) and vulnerable to hostile actions. Previously, the Zojila Tunnel was planned to be completed by September 2026. However, in September this year, union minister inspected the progress of construction work of the tunnel and set a new deadline for the project to be completed by December 2023, much ahead of the original deadline.