New Delhi: The 6.5 km Z-Morh tunnel on the Srinagar-Leh highway will be inaugurated next month while work on Asia’s longest tunnel at Zojila is likely to be completed in 2024, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Tuesday.
Addressing Assocham’s Annual Day 2023, Gadkari further said that his ministry is also building 9 tunnels between Jammu and Srinagar.
“We are constructing the Z-Morh tunnel in Sonmarg. The tunnel will be inaugurated in April,” he said.
The 6.5 km Z-Morh tunnel between Gagangir and Sonamarg on the Srinagar-Leh highway will provide connectivity round-the-year.
“We are also building Asia’s longest tunnel at Zojila. 65-70 per cent of work on the Zojila tunnel has been completed and it will be inaugurated in 2024,” the road transport and highways minister said.
The 13.5-km Zojila tunnel, being built for Rs 4,900 crore, when ready, will play a key role in making the road (NH1) connecting Srinagar with Leh an all-weather one.
The original deadline for the 11,000-foot high project is December 2026.
At present, the road remains closed for vehicular traffic after the winter sets in as the area sees heavy snowfall.
The minister also emphasised the need of reducing India’s logistics cost from 16 per cent to 9 per cent by the end of 2024.
He pointed out that while the logistics cost in China is 8 per cent, the logistics cost in the USA and European Union is 12 per cent.
“If we can reduce our logistics cost to 9 per cent from, currently, 16 per cent, then our exports will increase by 1.5 times,” Gadkari noted.