Proposal for longest road tunnel at Gurez, others in pipeline

FEBRUARY 14:Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has submitted a Rs 9,000-crore proposal to the Centre for construction of a road tunnel in Jammu and Kashmir that will connect strategically important Gurez town along the Line of Control to the rest of the Valley throughout the year.
“We have submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways for construction of an 18-kilometre tunnel at Razdhan pass to connect Gurez with rest of the Valley through out the year,” Chief Engineer BRO Brigadier A K Das told.
If approved, it will be longest road tunnel in the country and almost double the size of the present record holder Chenani-Nashri tunnel (9.2 km) — also in Jammu and Kashmir, which is expected to be completed later this year.
Gurez, a picturesque valley in Bandipora district, is located along LoC and remains cut off from rest of Kashmir during winter months due to heavy snowfall.
It is one of the many strategic areas of Kashmir — in terms of defence as well as energy security — as work is in progress on the Kishenganga Hydro Electric Project there.
Gurez has also been used as an infiltration route by militants coming from the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Das said a feasibility study has already been conducted for the tunnel and, if constructed, it will be of huge help not only to defence forces but also the civilian population of the area. “It will improve connectivity leading to development of the area.”
The BRO official said the organisation has also submitted proposal for three more strategically important tunnels to be constructed in the Valley.
“These include a 6.5-kilometre tunnel at Sadhna that will improve the connectivity with the Tangdhar area (along the LoC) in Kupwara district, another at Furkian (Keran Sector) and a 3.5-km tunnel at Zamindar Gali (Macchil Sector),” he said.
Brig Das said feasibility studies will be conducted on these three projects after the approval from the Union Ministry.
Tangdhar, Keran and Macchil areas of Kupwara district fall along the Line of Control and also remain cut off from from rest of the state due to heavy snowfall during winter.

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