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NHIDCL to build 3 high altitude tunnels for round the year road connectivity with Ladakh

It was informed that the NHIDCL has set up its regional office at Leh, and site offices at Kargil, Padum, Keylong and Upshi.

Statesman News Service | Jammu |

In a bid to provide year-round road connectivity with Ladakh through Manali in Himachal Pradesh, work on preparing detailed project reports (DPRs) for constructing tunnels through three high passes beyond Rohtang has been initiated by the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL).

These tunnels are necessary as the recent building of the Rohtang Tunnel alone would not improve connectivity between Ladakh and the rest of the country.

Umang Narula, advisor to the Lt. Governor of Ladakh union territory (UT) held a high level meeting in Leh on Thursday to review progress on these tunnels.

Need for reliable road connectivity with Ladakh was felt during the 1999 war with Pakistan when movement of soldiers and weaponry had to be done in aircrafts as the road to Kargil from both sides, Srinagar and Manali was blocked with heavy snow. Moreover, China is reportedly building a road network towards the Siachen Glacier from Gilgit-Baltistan that is under illegal occupation of Pakistan.

The NHIDCL has taken up DPR of the Zojila Eastern Portal (11,575 ft) on the Srinagar—Leh highway.

The three passes beyond Rohtang (13,051 ft) through which tunneling will be done are higher than Rohtang. World’s longest high altitude tunnel of 13.5 kms long will be constructed through Shinkun-la that is on a height of 16,703 ft. The tunnel will improve road connectivity between Keylong and Kargil.

Another tunnel has been approved at Tanglang-la (17,582 ft) which is the world’s second highest motorable pass. The NHIDCL is also in the process of clearing the decks for constructing a tunnel through Lachung-la at 16,000 ft.

Managing Director, NHIDCL, KK Pathak, was among those present in the meeting with Narula. Divisional commissioner Saugat Biswas, ADGP (Ladakh) SS Khandare and deputy commissioners of Leh and Kargil were also present in the meeting.

It was informed that the NHIDCL has set up its regional office at Leh, and site offices at Kargil, Padum, Keylong and Upshi.

Narula asked the concerned officials to design solar passive winter-friendly buildings which will help the UT to reduce carbon foot-prints. He said this can help run the schools in winter also. He also asked them to plan wayside amenities on the Kargil-Zanskar road of NH-301.