The Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir Shalindra Kumar Saturday said that state government is contemplating to provide road connectivity to Ladakh region with Valley through tunnel and in this connection Z-Morh-Zojila tunnel measuring 14 kilometres and estimated to cost Rs 10,000 crore prestigious project is on cards which is expected to be started in May next year.
As per a statement Kumar was addressing an officers meeting here convened to review the significance of ensuring the highway open round the year, which otherwise remains open for only for five months for promoting not only tourism but also giving fillip to trade and commerce between the two regions.
He said the objective of construction of tunnel will be to multiply the employment avenues for locals, both by way of constructing the tunnel as well as by making the highway through round the year.
Deputy Commissioner, Ganderbal, Chief Engineers of R&B, PDD and Beacon, Joint Director Information, Conservator of Forests Kashmir, Assistant Commissioner Revenue and DFO, Ganderbal and other concerned officers were present in the meeting. The Deputy Commissioner Kargil also interacted through video conference.
Discussing the issue of land acquisition for setting up of security installations and other infrastructure on both sides of the tunnel viz Baltal and Drass for ensuring safety and security of passengers as well as the tunnel itself, Kumar directed the concerned officers to coordinate with Deputy Commissioners of both the districts as well as Forest department for identification and acquisition of necessary land for the purpose. He said that the state government will explore possibilities for raising the battalion required for the purpose out of local unemployed populace. However, Kumar asked the authorities for maintaining ecological balance and proper use of debris and muck for constructing a Park at the site.