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Transport Minister reviews work at Zojila tunnel

Context:

India’s Transport Minister reviewed construction work at Zojila tunnel and said that road works totalling ₹1.5 lakh crore are being undertaken in the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Relevance:

Prelims, GS-I: Geography (Maps), GS-III: Industry and Infrastructure 

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Zoji La
  2. About Zoji La tunnel
  3. About the Z-Morh Tunnel

About Zoji La

  • Zoji La is a high mountain pass in the Himalayas in the Indian union territory of Ladakh (runs at an elevation of approximately 3,528 metres) and it is the second highest pass after Fotu La on the Srinagar-Leh National Highway.
  • Located in the Dras, the pass connects the Kashmir Valley to its west with the Dras and Suru valleys to its northeast and the Indus valley further east.
  • Since vehicle flow stops during winter every year due to heavy snowfall, the all-weather Zoji-la Tunnel is now constructed to mitigate this.
  • It provides a vital link between Ladakh and Kashmir Valley.
  • During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947–1948, Zoji La was seized by Pakistani raiders in 1948 in their campaign to capture Ladakh. The pass was recaptured by Indian forces on November 1948 in an assault codenamed Operation Bison, which achieved success primarily due to the surprise use of tanks, then the highest altitude at which tanks had operated in combat in the world.

About Zoji La tunnel

  • Zoji La Tunnel is a 14.2 km long road tunnel currently under construction, under Zoji La pass in the Himalayas between Sonmarg and Drass town in Kargil district of the Indian Union Territory of Ladakh.
  • The Zoji La tunnel will be Asia’s longest bi-directional tunnel after completion.
  • The tunnel along with 6.5 km long Z-Morh Tunnel, (which is 22 km before Zoji La tunnel towards Srinagar) will ensure year-long road connectivity between Srinagar and Kargil.
  • It takes more than 3 hours to cross the pass but the tunnel will reduce the time.
  • This tunnel was a strategic requirement of the army and the Ladakhi people as the pass is close to LOC and vulnerable to hostile actions. Zoji La was re-captured from Pakistani raiders under Operation Bison.
  • The tunnel will be built under EPC mode (engineering, procurement, construction) wherein the Government of India will provide the money and the executing agency will do the construction and will later hand over the project to the Government of India.

About the Z-Morh Tunnel

  • The Z-Morh Tunnel is a currently under-construction 6.5 km long road tunnel that will provide connection throughout all weather conditions between Srinagar and Kargil in the Union Territory of Ladakh, India.
  • It is named for the Z-shaped stretch of road between Sonamarg and Gagangir that the tunnel will replace.
  • The tunnel is hoped to increase social and economic development throughout the region and boost tourism in Sonamarg, which boasts attractions including the Thajiwas Glacier and activities such as whitewater rafting on the Sind River.
  • The completion of the Z-Morh tunnel will also significantly reduce the travel time between Srinagar and Leh, as commuters will no longer need to stay overnight in Kargil to compete the trip—the tunnel will ensure the entire stretch of road is accessible to vehicles throughout the year.

-Source: The Hindu

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