Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is on a one-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir, kickstarted the work for the Zolija tunnel, Asia's longest bi-directional tunnel on Saturday.
The prime minister who is on a day's visit to all the three regions -- Leh, Kashmir and Jammu-- of Jammu and Kashmir also attended the closing ceremony of the 100th birth anniversary celebrations of the 19th Kushok Bakula Rinpoche in Leh.
The tunnel will cut down the time taken to cross the Zojila pass from three and a half hours to just fifteen minutes.
Zojila pass is situated at an altitude of 11,578 feet on Srinagar-Kargil-Leh National Highway and remains closed during winters due to heavy snowfall, cutting off Ladakh region from Kashmir.
The project aims at the construction of 14.15 kilometer-long two-lane bi-directional single tube tunnel.
At the ceremony here, Modi said projects worth Rs 25,000 crore would either be initiated or inaugurated in all three regions and it showed the commitment of the central and the state governments towards the speedy development of the state.
On developmental work carried in the country after forming his government, he said 18,000 villages which did not receive power since Independence have been given electrical connectivity within 1,000 days.
There are four crore households in the country which do not have electricity even after 70 years of Independence and they will be given power connections within a year and a half, he said.
Later in the day, the Prime Minister will dedicate the 330 Megawatt Kishanganga Hydropower project to the nation, at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC) in Srinagar. He will also lay the foundation stone of the Srinagar Ring Road.
Modi would lay the foundation stone of the Pakul Dul Power Project and the Jammu Ring Road. He will also inaugurate Tarakote Marg and Material Ropeway of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board.
The Prime Minister will also attend the Convocation of the Sher-i-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Jammu.