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PM Modi kickstarts work on strategic Zojila tunnel in Leh

SNS | New Delhi |

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday kickstarted work for Zojila tunnel on the Srinagar-Leh National Highway, Asia’s longest and strategic bi-directional tunnel, to provide all-weather connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil and Leh.

The prime minister who is on a day’s visit to all the three regions — Leh, Kashmir and Jammu — of Jammu and Kashmir also attended the closing ceremony of the 100th birth anniversary celebrations of the 19th Kushok Bakula Rinpoche (Buddhist spiritual guru) in Leh.

The tunnel will cut down the time taken to cross the Zojila pass from three and a half hours to just 15 minutes.

Addressing a public meeting in Leh, PM Modi said, “I am happy that today, I am visiting 3 regions of Jammu and Kashmir. After my visit to Leh, I will be going to Srinagar and there after to Jammu. Jammu and Kashmir is going to get development projects worth Rs. 25,000 crore. These projects will have a positive impact on the people of the state.”

“There is great scope for agricultural growth across the state of Jammu and Kashmir. This state can play a key role when it comes to helping further holistic healthcare,” the Prime Minister added.

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Zojila pass is situated at an altitude of 11,578 feet on Srinagar-Kargil-Leh National highway and remains closed during winters due to heavy snowfall, cutting off Ladakh region from Kashmir through roads.

The project aims at construction of 14.15-km-long two lane bi-directional single tube tunnel.

Later in the day, PM Modi will also lay the foundation stone for Srinagar Ring Road and Jammu Ring Road at separate events at Sher-e-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC), Srinagar, and at General Zorawar Singh Auditorium in Jammu the same day.

Earlier on Saturday, PM Modi arrived in Leh amid hightended security as authorities suspended internet services and shut down schools and colleges for the day. He was received at the Leh Airport by Governor NN Vohra and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.

(With agency inputs)