Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has launched the first blasting for construction related to work at the 14.15 km Zojila tunnel, one of the longest in Asia, that will provide all-year connectivity between Srinagar valley and Leh. Blasting means blowing up or breaking apart something solid with explosives.
The project holds strategic significance as Zojila Pass is situated at an altitude of 11,578 feet on the Srinagar-Kargil-Leh National Highway and remains closed during winters due to heavy snowfall. At present, it is one of the most dangerous stretches in the world to drive a vehicle and this project is also geo-strategically sensitive.
The tunnel will provide all-weather connectivity between Srinagar valley and Leh (Ladakh plateau) on NH-1, and will bring about an all-round economic and socio–cultural integration of Jammu & Kashmir.
Initiating the blast in a virtual ceremony, Road Transport, Highways and MSMEs Minister Gadkari termed it a “moment of pride” for India.
He said the re-modelling of the project will result in savings to the tune of ₹4,000 crores to the public exchequer without any compromise on safety, security, and quality.