Ladakh: Tunnels of Rs 5,000 crore coming up in to facilitate all-weather movement

Navneet Dubey. Updated: 11/25/2022 10:45:20 AM Front Page

Govt contemplating tunnels at Khardung La, Fotu La, Namika La, Key-La

Jammu: To further ramp up its infrastructure with an eye on Chinese build up across the line of actual control(LAC) in Ladakh and to improve internal connectivity, the government is contemplating building tunnels of Rs 5000 crores across major passes of the Ladakh region.
In this connection the Ladakh administration has hired consultants to prepare detailed project report DPRs of tunnels across Khardung La, Fotu La, Namika La, and Key-La passes. There four tunnels are among 11 which are under planning to further enhance road infrastructure in Ladakh region. As per sources presently nine tunnels are being constructed by Border Roads Organisation(BRO) which include a "2.535 Km long Sela tunnel, which will be the highest bi-lane tunnel in the world once completed. The BRO has been entrusted with the task of constructing one of India's highest airfields at Nyoma which is very close to the China border and will boost Indian capabilities there," they said.
For the four new tunnels, Ajeet Kumar Sahu, Commissioner Secretary, PWD, Ladakh today reviewed the status of the survey and feasibility study conducted by RITES.
Recently the Army has set up 3D-printed permanent defences at the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh that can withstand tank fire. 3D printing technology uses complex software and robotic unit that helps in creating a structure through multiple stages from a digital model.
Pertinently all-weather tunnel enhances connectivity between valleys for facilitating the movement of the military, civilians, and tourists in the region. The construction of these tunnels will lead to faster, safer, and smoother movement of internal traffic resulting in the all-around economic development of Ladakh.
The proposed 5.5 km long Khardung-La tunnel is expected to shorten the travel time by an hour from Leh to Nubra valley. This will also help increase the safety of travellers due to bypassing of landslide and avalanche-prone areas.
Besides, it would also protect the Khardung glacier, which is a major source of water for Leh town, from receding due to the increase in heat emitted by automotive vehicular movement.
The consultant agency for the project shared that the proposed bypass tunnels at the Fotu La and Namika La passes will reduce the travel distance from Kargil to Leh by around an hour besides providing safety in traffic movement due to the accumulation of snow and icing on road during winters.
The expected increase of traffic on this road in winter after the opening of the Zojila tunnel also necessitates the construction of these tunnels as it serves as a strategic route for logistic supply to Ladakh.
These tunnels are expected to boost local business activities, employment opportunities, and tourism in the region. As per RITES a preliminary survey and testing on all locations have been done and certain options have been worked out on the tunnel alignments. Those are being examined technically as well as through a cost-benefit analysis. Some pending testing would be done in the next working season to clearly assess the geological formation of these passes.
Sahu asked to send the initial report before 31st December this year so that required approvals are obtained in advance.
Updated On 11/25/2022 10:53:54 AM

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