He will also lay the foundation stones for ring road projects in Srinagar and Jammu costing nearly Rs 38.84 billion. The 14-km long Zojila tunnel, which will be India’s longest road tunnel and Asia's longest bidirectional tunnel, will provide all-weather connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil and Leh as this route remains snow-bound for a large part of the year and is ravaged by frequent avalanches. It will also cut down the time taken to cross the Zojila pass from 3.5 hours to just 15 minutes, besides making the drive much safer and convenient, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways said in a statement.
“He 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,” it said.
Road Transport & Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari will also be present at the events.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister had approved the construction, operation and maintenance of this 2-lane bi-directional tunnel with Parallel Escape (Egress) tunnel between Baltal and Minamarg on the Srinagar-Leh section of NH-1A at a total cost of Rs 68 billion earlier this year.
The government said the construction of this tunnel will provide much relief to the people in the region. Due to heavy snowfall and frequent avalanches, road connection to places in the Laddakh region get disrupted for long periods, preventing even essential supplies from reaching people, shutting down businesses, affecting healthcare and education.
"The construction of the tunnel is expected to bring about all round economic and socio-cultural integration of these regions. In addition to direct jobs generated during construction, it will also lead to massive indirect and spinoff jobs due to acceleration of economic growth," the statement said.