Ground Report | New Delhi: tunnels connecting Kashmir with Ladakh; This mountainous rocky region of the Himalayas is part of Kashmir Valley. A large number of people here are working on an extraordinary project of the government. This is the work of digging tunnels and building bridges to connect the Kashmir Valley with Ladakh.
Ladakh is one of the most important strategic areas in the South Asian region. It shares borders with China and Pakistan. The area is cut off from the outside world for six months of the year because of the heavy snowfall and the dependence on airlifting during these months.
Four tunnels are planned to be dug under this project, the first of which has been completed and is 6.5 km or four miles long. The tunnel will provide access to the town of Sonamarg, which is considered a healthy and recreational area. Sonamarg will be accessible for the first time in the winter season. The area ends at a range of coniferous mountains or pine-covered mountains, and Ladakh begins on the other side of the Zojila hills.
tunnels connecting Kashmir with Ladakh
The fourth and final tunnel of the 93 932 million four-tunnel projects will be 14km long, connecting Sonamarg to Ladakh via the challenging mountainous region of Zojila. Officials say it will be India’s tallest and longest tunnel. The tunnel will be built at an altitude of 11,500 feet or 3,485 meters. “It’s not like any other construction work,” said Tariq Ahmed Lone, a worker at the project who works on the drilling machine. It’s a rare opportunity to learn.”
There have been sporadic clashes between Indian and Chinese troops in the Karakoram hills in Ladakh for more than 16 months. This area is actually the de facto or ‘The Line of Actual Control’ border area between the two countries. Both New Delhi and Beijing have deployed thousands of troops in the region, backed by artillery, tanks, and fighter jets.
Nitin Gadkari visited project site
Indian Army planners consider the tunnel project to be of paramount importance to Ladakh. Experts say the project will be the most important means of enabling a flexible supply of supplies to the Indian Army as well as creating opportunities for operational and strategic mobility.
The project is also a source of extraordinary opportunity for Indian politicians. Although plans were made to make the Zojila mountain section of the tunnel operational by 2026, India’s Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari visited the project site on Tuesday (September 28th).
On this occasion, he said that the construction work of the Zojila mountain section of the tunnel will be completed before 2024. “It’s a challenge and I know it, but I’m sure they’ll get it done on time,” he said. “Obviously, we want this project to be completed before the elections,” Gadkari said.