IRB Infrastructure Developers has received a Letter of Award from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to construct the Zoji la pass tunnelon the Srinagar-Kargil-Leh highway in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K).
After several extensions and rebidding forthe project, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has finally awarded the contract to IRB for Rs 10,050 crore.
Once operational, the 14.08km long tunnel will be the longest in south-east Asia. Apart from reducing the travel time between Kashmir and Ladakh, it will also allow the stretch to be motorable throughout the year.
IRB chairman and managing director, Virendra Mhaiskar said "It is the biggest national highway project awarded in India in terms of project cost with a tunnel length spanning 14.08 km and costing of Rs 10050 crore. This project has a strategic and socio-economic importance as it will provide the much-needed all-weather connectivity between Kashmir valley and Ladakh, which remains cut-off during winter due to heavy snowfall and hence assumes national importance."
Apart from the tunnel, the project also involves construction of an approach road of 10.8 km with three vertical ventilation shafts, a snow gallery of 700 metres and avalanche protection measures.The construction of the tunnel is scheduled to be completed in seven years and the concession period is 22 years. The funding for the construction of the Zoji la tunnel was recently announced in the Rs 80,000 crore Prime Minister's Reconstruction Plan for Jammu and Kashmir.