SRINAGAR: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will throw open country’s longest road tunnel on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway on April 2.
He will also address a public meeting.
“PM Narendra Modi will inaugurate 9.2 kilometers long Chenani-Nashri tunnel on Srinagar-Jammu highway on April 2,” J&K Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh told Express.
It would be the fourth visit of PM Modi to the State after formation of PDP-BJP coalition government on March 1, 2015
Sources said Modi would address a public meeting after throwing open the road tunnel.
However, they said, the PM in the public meeting can’t make any specific announcements for the State in view of imposition of Model Code of Conduct (MCC). The MCC is in place in State due to bypolls for two parliamentary seats -- Srinagar-Budgam in central Kashmir and Anantnag-Pulwama in south Kashmir. The elections for Srinagar LS seat would be held on April 9 and for Anantnag seat on April 12.
Sources said PM’s visit will be a brief one. “He will be in the State for about two hours during which he would inaugurate the tunnel and address the public meeting.”
The 9.2 kms tunnel, which is country’s longest road tunnel, will connect the Chenani area of Udhampur district with Nashri area in Ramban district and reduce the length of Jammu-Srinagar national highway by around 31 kilometers. It will also help reduce the traffic jams on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway at Patnitop due to inclement weather during the winters.
The tunnel will bypass the hilly terrain of Patnitop and make the movement of people easy on Srinagar-Jammu national highway, which is the only road link connecting Kashmir with rest of the country and Valley is totally dependent on the highway for the supplies.
According to officials, a number of state-of-the-art tunnels have been dug through the Pir Panjal ranges, among others, for easy roadways and a pioneering railway line both of which will give easy access to the valley.
The work on the state-of-the-art tunnel was started on May 23, 2011 and completed in December last year at a cost of Rs 3720 crore.
“The main Chenani Nashri Tunnel has an escape tunnel of 9 kilometers. There are 29 cross passages, 2 rotary junctions, 2 minor bridges, 7 culverts, 3 drainage pipes each of 9 kilometer length in the main tunnel, 2 drainage pipes each of 9 kilometer length in the escape tunnel, two 9 kilometer drainage pipes in escape tunnel and 29 drainage pipes in Cross passages and 14 lay bays. There are 59 firefighting niches and 118 emergency call niches,” the official said.
They said trial run was successfully completed for peak and off-peak hours between March 9 and March 15.
The project has already passed the safety audit, the officials said.
They said NHAI has constructed a parallel escape tunnel along with the main tunnel for evacuation of commuters in case of eventuality including snowstorm or blizzards.
The two tubes of the tunnel will be internally connected through 29 “cross-passages” (each after a gap of 300 meters) and the escape tunnel will exclusively be used for pedestrians and there is a provision for ventilation keeping in view the distance of the tunnel, the officials added.