Published: Mon, April 03, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

PM inaugurates longest road tunnel link

PM inaugurates longest road tunnel link

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged the youth of Kashmir to choose tourism and development over terrorism, shortly after inaugurating a 37.2 billion rupee ($574 million) highway tunnel in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Giving details about the other projects, Nitin Gandkari said that Rs 7000 crores will be invested in highways projects in Jammu and Kashmir in the next two years.

Speaking on the stone pelting incidents in the Valley, Modi said, " On one hand, some misguided youth pelt stones in Kashmir, on the other hand, the same stones are carved by other youth to build infrastructure". Criticising Pakistan, Modi said "those across the border are not able to handle themselves". My own Valley has been blood-soaked, my Kashmir's beloved youth, my Hindustan's beloved youth.

It is because of these reasons that the Prime Minister's call to Kashmiri youths assumes significance.

The tunnel, constructed at a cost of Rs 2,519 crore, will reduce the distance between Jammu and Srinagar - the twin state capitals - by 30 km, while ensuring safe and swift passage for commuters, even in adverse weather conditions. On the new tunnel, Modi said, "This tunnel is environment-friendly and this tunnel will help in the fight against global warming".

A screen grab of the newly inaugurated Chenani-Nashri tunnel, in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday.

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Modi drove in an open jeep through the all-weather route, which is expected to help trade and tourism in the region. "Nobody has benefitted from this bloodshed", the Prime Minister stressed.

"We are building 13 new project in Jammu and Kashmir and I hope that it will further strengthen the road network and road communication for the people", The Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping said. "I want to show the people of POK how J&K can develop". The tunnel is located on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway.

To prevent diminution of vision as a result of change in the light while going in or coming out of the tunnel, the lighting inside has been adjusted at a gradient of luminous strength. Three helipads have been sanitised and checked by security teams headed by the Special Protection Group, or SPG.

The other major 8.5 km long tunnel connecting Banihal with Qazigund, however, will operate later in 2018.

PM Modi was accompanied by his central ministers, governor N N Vohra and chief minister Mehbooba Mufti as he had a brief tour of the tunnel.

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