Prime Minister Narendra Modi will undertake visit to Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday where he is expected to kickstart work on prestigious Zojilla tunnel, that will provide all-weather connectivity between Ladakh and the Valley. He will also lay foundation stones for or inaugurate other infrastructure projects. A multi-tier security arrangement is in place in view of his visit.
The prime minister will also dedicate to the nation the 330-MW Kishenganga Power Project constructed in the Gurez area of Kashmir.
"The prime minister will attend the commencement of work on Zojila tunnel on the Srinagar-Leh National Highway at an event in Jive-tsal in Leh tomorrow," an official spokesman said.
Modi will also lay foundation stone for the Srinagar Ring Road and Jammu Ring Road at separate events at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC) Srinagar and at the General Zorawar Singh Auditorium in Jammu.
Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari will also be present at the events.
The 14-kilometre long Zojila tunnel will be India's longest road tunnel and Asia's longest bidirectional tunnel.
Earlier this year, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the prime minister, had approved the construction, operation and maintenance of this two-lane bi-directional tunnel with parallel escape (Egress) tunnel between Baltal and Minamarg on the Srinagar-Leh section of the National Highway at a cost of Rs 6,800 crore.
The construction of this tunnel will provide all-weather connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil and Leh.
This route remains snow-bound for a large part of the year, and is ravaged by frequent avalanches. As a result, road connectivity to places in the Ladakh region stands disrupted for long periods, preventing even essential supplies from reaching people, shutting down businesses, affecting healthcare and education.
The tunnel will cut down the time taken to cross the Zojila pass from the present 3.5 hours to just 15 minutes, besides making the drive much safer and convenient.
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 government is committed to development of manpower skilled for tunnelling jobs in Jammu and Kashmir. The project has strategic and socio-economic importance, and will be an instrument for the development of the economically backward districts in Jammu and Kashmir, the spokesperson said.
"The Zojila tunnel has been planned as a smart tunnel. It 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," the spokesman said.
It will have pedestrian cross passages at every 250 metres and motorable cross passages and lay-bys at every 750 metres, he said, adding emergency telephones and fire-fighting cabinets will be installed at every 125 metres.
The Ring Roads in Srinagar and Jammu are aimed at reducing traffic congestion in these cities and making road travel safer, faster, more convenient and more environment friendly, the spokesman said.
The 42.1-Km, four-lane Srinagar Ring Road will link Galandar in West Srinagar to Sumbal in Badnipora district, he said.
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. There will be a major bridge, three flyovers, 23 tunnels and two via-ducts on this route, he said.
The 58.25-km, four-lane Jammu Ring Road, being built at a cost of Rs 2023.87 crore, will link Jagati (western Jammu ) to Raya Morh. There will be eight large bridges, six flyovers, two tunnels and four via ducts on this route, the spokesman said.
The prime minister will also attend the closing ceremony of the birth centenary of 19th Kushok Bakula Rinpoche in Leh. He will also attend the convocation of the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Jammu.
Multi-tier security in Jammu for PM's visit tomorrow
A multi-tier security arrangement is in place in the city for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit tomorrow.
IGP Jammu zone, S D Singh Jamwal told reporters that a multi-tier security arrangement was in place for the prime minister's visit and all necessary measures had been taken.
Asked if there was a security concern in view of reports of five suspected militants having infiltrated from across the International Border in Kathua district, he said it was a concern and they had searched the entire area and would deal with it.
The security forces had been on put on alert in Jammu and checking and frisking were being done at various entry and exit points, he sid.
The Zorawar Singh and the SKUAST auditoriums, where the PM would be presiding over the functions, had been made out of bounds and multi-tier security in and around the areas was in place under the command of the SPG, he said.
(With PTI inputs)