JAMMU/SRINAGAR, May 18: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone of Rs 6,800 crore strategic Zojila tunnel, Asia’s longest bi-directional tunnel, two Ring Roads-one each in Jammu and Srinagar, Pakal Dul in Kishtwar and inaugurate Kishanganga hydro-electric projects and Tarakote Marg from Katra to Adh-Kunwari during his day-long visit to Jammu and Kashmir. He will also address SKUAST-J convention.
Accompanied by Surface Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari and Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Dr Jitendra Singh, the Prime Minister will cover all three regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh during his visit. Minister of State for Power (Independent Charge) RK Singh will join the Prime Minister in Srinagar.
Dr Jitendra Singh said: “despite just one-day visit, the Prime Minister has fulfilled his commitment of regional balance and equitable development of all three regions of the State including Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh by covering all three regions during the visit”.
Security has been beefed up in Jammu ahead of the Prime Minister’s visit.
The Prime Minister will directly reach Leh where he would lay foundation stone of Zojila tunnel and address culmination programme of Kushok Bakula’s centenary celebrations. At SKICC Srinagar, he would inaugurate Kishanganga power project and lay foundation stone of Ring Road. Then he would reach Jammu and address SKUAST-J convention. Later, he will lay foundation stone of Pakal Dul hydro-electric power project in Kishtwar and Jammu Ring Road and inaugurate Tarakote Marg from Zorawar Singh Auditorium in Jammu University. Pakal Dul HE project is 1000 MW and is being constructed on river Marusudar, a tributary of river Chenab in Kishtwar district.
The Ring Road projects in Srinagar and Jammu will cost nearly Rs 3,884 crore.
The Zojila 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.
It said Modi will attend “the commencement of work on Zojila Tunnel on the Srinagar-Leh National Highway at an event in Jive-tsal in Leh tomorrow”.
“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.
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 6,800 crore 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 Ladakh 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.
It added that the government is committed to development of manpower skilled for tunneling jobs in J&K. The project has strategic and socio-economic importance, and will be an instrument for the development of the economically backward districts in J&K.
The Government said the Zojila tunnel has been planned as a smart tunnel which will have latest safety features like fully transverse ventilation system, Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS), Tunnel Emergency Lighting, CCTV Monitoring, Variable Message Signs (VMS), Traffic Logging Equipment, Over Height Vehicle Detection, Tunnel Radio System, etc.
It will have pedestrian cross passages at every 250 meter and motorable cross passages and lay-bys at every 750 meter, the statement said, adding that it will have emergency telephones and fire-fighting cabinets at every 125 meter.
The Ring Roads at Srinagar and Jammu are aimed at reducing traffic congestion at these cities and making road travel safer, faster, more convenient and more environment friendly, the statement said.
The 42.1 Km, 4 lane Srinagar Ring Road will link Galandar in West Srinagar to Sumbal. Being built at a cost of Rs 1,860 crore, this road will provide a new route from Srinagar to Kargil and Leh, and reduce travel time, it said, adding that there will be a major bridge, three flyovers, 23 tunnels and 2 via-ducts on this route.
“The 58.25 km, 4-lane Jammu Ring Road, being built at a cost of Rs 2,023.87 crore, will link Jagati (western Jammu) to Raya Morh. There will be 8 large bridges, 6 flyovers, 2 tunnels and 4 via ducts on this route,” it said.
Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Srinagar the security has been put on high alert in Srinagar and authorities sealed the Boulevard road leading to SKICC where the function is to be held.
Authorities amid a thick security blanket sealed the Dalgate-Nishat main road today in view of Prime Minister’s visit. The traffic was diverted today for the security of the PM visit. The diversion of the traffic today resulted in traffic mess at various places including the Foreshore road, Hazratbal, Dalgate and other areas.
The security has been further beefed up after militants last evening decamped with three service rifles from a police post in Dalgate area of Srinagar which is few kilometers from the venue of PM’s function.
And authorities have decided to impose restrictions in Srinagar parts including Old City on Saturday as a precautionary measure.
Restrictions within the territorial jurisdictions of Khanyar, Rainawari, Nowhatta, Safakadal, MR Gunj, Nishat and partially in Maisuma and Kralkhud police stations Srinagar will remain in force tomorrow.
The class work in all schools and colleges in Srinagar will also remain suspended tomorrow.
And in view of the visit of the PM visit, the Traffic Police City Srinagar has formulated route plan so that commuters travelling on the routes would not face any inconvenience.
As per the traffic plan, no traffic shall be allowed to ply from Badyari Chowk to Nishat via Boulevard and similarly no traffic shall be allowed to ply from Ram Munshi Bagh towards Grand Palace and Nishat via Gupkar.
Commuters travelling from Harwan, Shalimar, Nishat and adjacent areas towards Lal Chowk are requested to travel via Foreshore Road & Hazratbal.
Further, the commuters travelling from Dalgate, Lal Chowk and adjacent areas towards Harwan, Shalimar, Nishat shall adopt Nowpora, Khayam, Rainawari to reach their respective destinations.