The Minister during an event for signing of MoU for the tunnel, also asked IL&FS to complete the work faster than the assigned seven years, the official said.
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari today urged IL&FS Transportation to explore the possibility of a rail alignment also in the Zojila pass tunnel project to provide all weather connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil and Leh in Jammu and Kashmir, an official said. IL&FS Transportation has been awarded the project for Zojila pass tunnel in Jammu and Kashmir for which a construction period of 2,555 days has been fixed. “Road Transport and Highways Minister Gadkari has urged IL&FS to explore the possibility of laying a rail alignment also in the tunnel as per Prime Minister’s suggestion,” an official said. The Minister during an event for signing of MoU for the tunnel, also asked IL&FS to complete the work faster than the assigned seven years, the official said. “The IL&FS has said that they will explore the possibility of escape tunnel for this (rail alignment), the official added. The Cabinet on January 3 had approved strategic Zojila pass tunnel project in Jammu and Kashmir to provide all-weather connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil and Leh, which remains cut-off from the rest of the world during winters due to heavy snowfall.
Zojila pass is situated at an altitude of 11,578 feet on Srinagar-Kargil-Leh National Highway which remains closed during winters (December to April) due to heavy snowfall and avalanches cutting off Leh-Ladakh region from Kashmir. The project is implemented by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways through NHIDCL. The civil construction cost of the project is Rs 4,899.42 crore. The total capital cost of the project is Rs 6,808.69 crore. The project aims at construction of 14.15 km long two-lane bi-directional single tube tunnel with a parallel 14.2 km long egress tunnel excluding approaches between Baltal and Minamarg in the state.