Why in News:
- Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways reviewed the work on Zojila and Z Morh tunnels.
About the tunnels
- The Zojila tunnel will be Asia’s longest bi-directional tunnel and will allow all-weather connectivity between Ladakh and Srinagar, which is disrupted during the winter months.
- The Z-Morh tunnel — being developed at Sonmarg — will provide all-weather connectivity with Srinagar allowing it to remain open to tourists all year round. It is likely to be ready by the end of 2023.
- The 18-kilometer approach road runs from the end of the Z-morh tunnel to the beginning of the Zojila tunnel.
About Zoji La
- The Zoji La is a high mountain pass in Ladakh’s Kargil area.
- The pass connects Leh and Srinagar and serves as a vital link between Ladakh and Kashmir.
- Due to excessive snowfall, the Zojila pass stays blocked during the winter, cutting off Ladakh from Kashmir.
- The Zojila tunnel project was launched in 2018. The tunnel will enable all-weather communication between Srinagar, Kargil, and Leh and is Asia’s longest and most strategically located bi-directional tunnel.
- The project is strategically important since Zojila Pass, located on the Srinagar-Kargil-Leh National Highway at an elevation of 11,578 feet, is closed throughout the winter due to severe snowfall.
- It is currently one of the most dangerous segments of road in the world, and this project is also geo-strategically significant.
- It will give all-weather connectivity to Srinagar, Dras, Kargil, and Leh, which are cut off from the rest of the country for six months during the winter due to heavy snowfall.
- The Srinagar-Kargil-Leh section of NH-1 will be free of avalanches.
- It will cut the travel time in half, from over 3 hours to 15 minutes.
- Local residents will be employed throughout the construction of the tunnel.
- From a defence standpoint, the tunnel is quite important. Many military operations are currently taking place along the boundaries of these regions.