New Delhi: Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways and MSME Nitin Gadkari and Shri Jitendra Singh, MoS (I/C) Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space announced renaming of Chenani Nashri Tunnel on NH 44 in Jammu & Kashmir as Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Tunnel in an event in New Delhi today. This 9 km tunnel is the longest such state of art tunnel in the country, connecting Udhampur to Ramban in Jammu. Constructed at a cost of Rs 2500 crore, it cuts down 31 km of travel distance and reduces the travel time between the two points by about two hours, in addition to substantial saving in fuel cost.
Speaking on the occasion Shri Gadkari said the renaming of the tunnel is a fitting tribute to Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee, who sacrificed his life for the country and has been a source of inspiration for the nation. Talking about his Ministry’s initiatives in the state of Jammu & Kashmir, Shri Gadkari said that Rs 6000 crore worth of road projects have been taken up in the state during the last five years. These include Ring Roads around both Jammu and Srinagar, and construction of Zojila Tunnel among others. He said these projects will be major game changers for the people of the state, bringing employment and socio-economic development.
The Minister announced plans for construction of a new road alignment between Delhi and Katra in Jammu, which will reduce the travel time upto six hours. He said, the new alignment will pass through the states of Haryana and Punjab. He also said that the government is working on a policy for enhancing employment generation in the state through medium and small scale industries like handloom, handicrafts, honey based industries etc.
Speaking on the occasion Dr Jitendra Singh said that this is a unique moment for the country. 66 years ago, Dr Mookerjee was arrested illegally from Lakhanpur, and was taken to Srinagar through Chenani Nashari. Dr Mookerjee was a sitting member of Lok Sabha at that time. The naming of this tunnel after Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee is a tribute to him and coming generations will remember this day in future, said the Minister. He said this is a tribute to the struggle of workers, and redeems Dr Mookerjee’s pledge of ‘Ek Vidhaan, Ek Nishaan, Ek Pradhan.’ He added that the region has seen a lot of development under the Narendra Modi led Government. About 2 dozen bridges have been constructed in Udhampur. There are inter-state bridges and state of the art tunnels, he added.