Construction work Zojila tunnel resumes after month-long pause
Post by Umar Raina on Thursday, March 23, 2023
Ganderbal, Mar 22: The construction work on Asia's longest 14.5 km Zojila tunnel in central Kashmir's Ganderbal district has resumed after being temporarily halted for over a month.
On February 25, the construction work was stopped after a massive avalanche struck near the Sarbal area, leading to the death of two laborers.
An official from Mega Engineering and Infrastructure Limited (MEIL) stated that the company had temporarily suspended work on the Zojila tunnel to ensure the safety and protection of the workers. Work was resumed on the West portal side at Baltal on February 25. However, work on the roads and bridges being constructed for the tunnel has not yet begun due to the accumulation of snow. Nevertheless, snow clearance operations have commenced.
Once the Zojila tunnel is commissioned, the economy of the area will receive a boost, and the tunnel will provide all-weather road connectivity to the Ladakh region. The region remains closed during the winters due to heavy snowfall in Sonamarg and the Zojila Pass, which is situated at an altitude of 11,649 feet above sea level.
According to Senior Manager Mega Engineering Infrastructure Limited (MEIL), Burhan Andrabi, work on the Zojila tunnel has resumed from the West portal located in the Baltal area. He also mentioned that the tunnel would make the Srinagar-Kargil-Leh highway free from avalanches, augment safety in the region, and significantly reduce travel time by over three hours, to a mere 15 minutes. The distance between Baltal and Minamarg will be reduced to approximately 13 kilometers from the existing 40-kilometer route.