Union Minister Nitin Gadkari visits Zojila tunnel Eastern Portal Work going on war footing basis, tunnel going to be an economic corridor for Ladakh, Kashmir: Minster says after inspection
KARGIL, SEPTEMBER 28, 2021: Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari today visited Zojila Tunnel Eastern Portal to inspect the construction works and said work on the project is going on war footing basis amid difficulties and it is going to be an economic corridor for Ladakh and Kashmir.
The Union Minister landed at Zojila Tunnel Eastern Portal today morning where he was received by the Lieutenant Governor Ladakh Radha Krishna Mathur and Chairman and Chief Executive Councillor, LAHDC, Kargil Feroz Ahmad Khan in presence of the senior officers of UT Administration and officers of National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) besides officers of civil and police administration.
Nitin Gadkari inspected the pace of ongoing works on the Zojila Tunnel Eastern Portal along with the Union Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways and Civil Aviation, General (Retired) Dr V K Singh.
The Union Minister said that Zojila Tunnel is supposed to be the longest tunnel in Asia and this is the first time that the Government of India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken the decision to start its work.
On the occasion, Nitin Gadkari said the tunnel construction work at Zojila is a very difficult task and there are lot of problems but our efforts are still on to complete the project despite challenges.
“We can win over all the problems. That is the way our officers of NHIDCL, security personnel from different para-military forces, contractors, engineers and workers are working to complete the project within the stipulated timelines”, the Minister said.
The Minister further said that once completed, we want to start the tunnel 24×7, adding he said he is confident that the way work is presently going on we will complete the tunnel before the stipulated time period and effort is being made to complete it up to 2023 end.
“When Ladakh and Kashmir will get good roads, good tunnels 24×7, it is going to start the socio-economic progress of this area. It is going to create employment,” he said.
Gadkari said the basic spirit behind all the development is to create employment potential in the area and to create employment potential we will have capital investment.
“We are going to create more employment potential for the local youth of Ladakh and Kashmir. We will give highest priority for employment to local people. It is going to eradicate poverty. It would be a great socio-economic transformation,” he said.
The Minister said the Union Government is spending more than one lakh crore rupees only for tunnels in Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.
“A lot of projects are in the DPR stage and presently project costing one lakh crore rupees is already going on, and in next phase we will again make a project of one lakh crore for this area,” he said.
Nitin Gadkari said apart from financial audit, performance of any project is very important. He said that for people who are working fast and, in a time, -bound manner, result-oriented and corruption-free manner, we will give them more priority for more work.
“So if the NHIDCL is doing excellent job we will give them more work. At the same time if BRO is going good job, we will encourage them. But we need speed, quality and use of best technology. We don’t want to compromise with the quality and also want to reduce the cost,” the Minister said.
“Within two years we will change the scenario of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. We will give more infrastructure facilities within two years. We need cooperation for land acquisition and other works and funds are not a problem,” he said.
The Minister expressed thankfulness to the cooperation of the UT Administration Ladakh. He said that the LG Ladakh is keenly interested in the development of this area, adding he said that the Central Government is the facilitator and main catalyst for development to happen in the UT and we are working on war footing basis to complete the tunnel to give relief to people, adding he said that the NHIDCL is geared up to continue the work in winter months.
Pertinent to mention that, once completed the Zojila Tunnel will be India’s longest road tunnel and Asia’s longest bi-directional tunnel.
Deputy Commissioner and CEO LAHDC, Kargil Santosh Sukhadeve, SSP Kargil Anayat Ali Choudhary, Executive Director NHIDCL Colonel Dinesh Dixit, General Manager NHIDCL A K Shiv Kumar, Managing Director Megha Engineering Works P V Krishna Reddy and officials of police, civil departments and construction agencies were also present on the occasion.