PM Narendra Modi unveils plaque to mark commencement of work on the Zojila Tunnel

Leh: The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, arrived in Leh on the first leg of a day-long visit to Jammu and Kashmir today.

He attended the Closing Ceremony of the Birth Centenary Celebration of the 19th Kushok Bakula Rinpoche in Leh. At the same event, he unveiled a plaque to mark the commencement of work on the Zojila Tunnel.

The 14 km long Zojila tunnel will be India’s longest road tunnel and Asia’s longest bi-directional tunnel. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister, had approved the construction, operation and maintenance of this tunnel between Baltal and Minamarg, on the Srinagar-Leh section of NH-1A, at a total cost of Rs 6800 crore earlier this year. The construction of this tunnel will provide all-weather connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil and Leh. It will cut down the time taken to cross the Zojila pass from the present three and a half hours, to just fifteen minutes. It will lead to all-round economic and socio-cultural integration of these regions. It also has immense strategic importance.

Addressing a large gathering on the occasion, the Prime Minister recalled the rich contribution of the 19th Kushok Bakula Rinpoche. His was a life dedicated to serving others, the Prime Minister said.

He added that the 19th Kushok Bakula Rinpoche distinguished himself as an outstanding diplomat. He mentioned that during his visit to Mongolia, he had witnessed first-hand, the goodwill he has in that country.

Shri Narendra Modi expressed happiness that he is visiting the three regions of Jammu and Kashmir today.

He said the State of Jammu and Kashmir is going to get development projects worth Rs. 25,000 crore. These projects will have a positive impact on the people of the state, he added.