The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the prime minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval to the construction, operation and maintenance of the two-lane, bi-directional Zojila Tunnel and a parallel escape tunnel. The project will be carried out on an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) mode. The construction of the approaches to the tunnel is being undertaken separately.
The tunnel is designed to provide all weather connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil and Leh and to bring about all round economic and socio-cultural integration in the region. Connectivity in the Leh region of Jammu & Kashmir is at present limited to at best six months because of snow on the passes and the threat of avalanches.
Construction is expected to take seven years. The cost of the civils work is put at approximately Rs49bn (£569m) and the total capital cost of the project is Rs68bn, including aspects such as land acquisition and maintenance.
The project will be implemented by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways through the National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation.