Highway projects worth Rs 25,000 crore will be undertaken in Jammu & Kashmir this year, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said today.
The announcement was made at the ‘final blast’ ceremony of Rs 3,720 crore Chenani-Nashri road tunnel project that will provide all-weather connectivity between Jammu and Srinagar.
“Narendra Modi government is committed to doing more work in 5 years in the state to bolster its economic growth then what was done in last 50 years. We will do projects worth Rs 25,000 crore this year,” Gadkari said at the ceremony.
The Road Transport and Highways Minister said the tunnel, which is part of Rs 12,000 crore Jammu to Srinagar project, will be inaugurated by Modi in May next year.
On completion of the entire project, the distance between Jammu and Kashmir regions will be reduced by 91 km, he said, adding that the project will lead to saving of fuel worth Rs 27 lakh per day.
Gadkari added that work on the 14 km-long Zozilla tunnel will start soon and better infrastructure would result in better traffic flow in the state.
The tunnel, connecting Chenani with Nashri in Ramban area, will cut the distance between Jammu and Kashmir by about 31-km and reduce travel time by about two hours.
The existing Highway stretch between Chenani and Nashri encounters heavy snowfall during winters leading to closing of highway for weeks altogether.
“This tunnel will be the first in India equipped with world class ‘Integrated Tunnel Control System’ (ITCS) through which ventilation, fire control, signals, communication, electrical systems tolling, etc will be automatically actuated,” Gadkari said.
Terming the tunnel work as a historic milestone, he said it will contribute significantly to the programme and idea of ‘Make in India’ and ‘Made in India’ as an Indian company has carried out the project.
The construction of the project is being done by IL&FS Transportation Networks which had started work on it in May 2011. The milestone was achieved despite huge challenges on account of tough geological and weather conditions, he said.
The Chenani-Nashri Tunnel project involves construction of about 9 km of 2 lane main tunnels along with parallel escape tunnel in the tough lower Himalayan mountain range, which is passing through difficult geological conditions.
“In spite of many odds, due to the untiring efforts of Engineers and technicians, it has been possible to complete excavation of 19 km tunnelling in less than 4 years time, which is record in Himalayan Geological condition by New Austrian Tunnelling Method,” the minister said.