Jammu, December 30: An all weather road to Ladakh is a long pending demand and very fortunately, the union government has taken the first step into the construction of South-East Asia’s longest Zojila tunnel connecting Kashmir’s Sonmarg with the Gumri area in Kargil district.
The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways under the chairmanship of Nitin Gadkari, has invited international bids for Expression of Interest which will be opened on January 14th, 2016.
Official sources say that the project holds strategic importance in view of Ladakh sharing its vast borders with the aggressive China and it will be built on the design-build-finance-operate-transfer (DBFOT) (annuity) basis. It will be completed within seven years and its concession period will be 22 years comprising seven years of construction and 15 years of operation period.
The project is not only a dream for the people of Ladakh but also for entire country. It will provide round-the-year connectivity to Ladakh, which otherwise remains cut off from other parts of the world for almost six months due to closure of two vital highways the 434-km-long Srinagar-Kargil-Leh highway and the 474-km-long Manali-Leh road in Winter. The construction will be started in the beginning of next year once the procedure for Expression of Interest gets completed, he added.