Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday dedicated to the nation the nine km-long Chenani-Nashri road tunnel -- the longest in India -- that connects Jammu with Srinagar on national highway (NH)-44.
Modi inaugurates Chenani-Nashri tunnel
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today dedicated to the nation the nine km-long Chenani-Nashri road tunnel -- the longest in India -- that connects Jammu with Srinagar on national highway (NH)-44.
The tunnel will reduce travel time between the two cities by upto two hours and reduce the distance between the two cities by 31 km, bypassing snow-bound upper reaches.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Modi said the tunnel would also promote tourism in the valley, open up employment opportunities for the youth and give a boost to development in the state.
Mr. Modi travelled the entire length of the tunnel later and was briefed about some of its key features.
Later, addressing a public meeting in Udhampur, he said that the tunnel is world-class, and matches the best standards. He said the tunnel is environment-friendly and will help in the fight against global warming. He said that while some misguided youngsters were pelting stones, the youth of Kashmir were cutting stones to create infrastructure.
Mr. Modi said violence and terrorism can never help anyone. He thanked the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Ms. Mehbooba Mufti, and said that work had begun on the package that the Union Government had announced for the State.
Recalling the vision and work of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the Prime Minister said that the Union Government's sole mantra is development, and this could be achieved through people’s participation.
The Prime Minister thanked Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari and his team for the tunnel and appreciated the youth for contributing their labour for the development of the state.
Mr. Gadkari expressed happiness at India’s longest highways tunnel being dedicated to the nation. He said that Rs. 7000 crore would be invested in highways projects in Jammu and Kashmir in the next two years. He said a ring road will be built around Jammu at a cost of Rs 2100 crore and another one around Srinagar at a cost of Rs 2200 crores. Work on this will start in the next three months, he said.
Mr. Gadkari also said the Zojila tunnel is being built between Leh and Ladakh at a cost of Rs 6000 crore. He said that, during the year 2016-17, Rs 1019 crore had been sanctioned for 72 projects in Jammu & Kashmir.
Dr Jitendra Singh, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, said this was the beginning of a new India under Mr. Modi's leadership.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti thanked the Prime Minister and the Central Government for the support extended to the state.
The twin-tube, all-weather tunnel between Udhampur and Ramban in Jammu & Kashmir is not only India’s longest highways tunnel but also Asia’s longest bi-directional highways tunnel. It is built at an elevation of 1200 metres on one of the most difficult Himalayan terrains.
The tunnel will also ensure an all weather passage on a route that often sees heavy traffic jams and disruptions due to landslides, snow, sharp curves, breakdown of vehicles and accidents.
The tunnel is a part of the 286-km-long four-laning of the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. The structure consists of a nine km long, two-laned main tunnel with a parallel escape tunnel of same length. The two tunnels are connected by 29 cross passages at regular intervals along the entire length of the tunnel. These cross passages can be used for evacuation of vehicles and commuters in case of breakdown or any other emergency.
There are two minor bridges on the south and north sides and 4-lane approach roads with toll plazas on both ends of the tunnel. The maximum height permitted in the tunnel is 5 meters and, for checking the height, special sensors have been installed just before the toll points at both ends.
The tunnel has an efficient, transverse ventilation system. There are inlets bringing fresh air at 8-metre intervals and outlets for exhaust every 100 metres. There is also a fully-integrated control system with ventilation, communication, power supply, incident detection, SOS call box and fire fighting. Fitted with intelligent traffic mechanism, the tunnel has fully automatic smart control and no human intervention will be required for its operations. The tunnel is also equipped with advanced scanners to ward off any security threat. Very few tunnels in the world have this kind of fully integrated tunnel control, an official press release said.
The project is also environment friendly. The time saving on the Jammu- Srinagar route will further result in fuel saving of approximately Rs 27 lakh per day. Besides, the construction of the tunnel has avoided large-scale deforestation.
The release said the tunnel would have a very positive impact on the state economy. In line with the Skill India initiative of the Prime Minister, the skill sets of local people were developed and improved, and they were engaged for construction of this tunnel. The project has provided employment to over 2,000 unskilled and skilled youth of Jammu and Kashmir as 94 percent of the work force was from the state. Around 600 to 900 people from across the country also worked on this project in three shifts over the past four years, it added.