LEH: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today kickstarted work for Zojila tunnel, Asia's longest and strategic bi-directional tunnel, to provide all-weather connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil and Leh.
The Prime Minister who is on a day's visit to all the three regions -- Leh, Kashmir and Jammu-- of Jammu and Kashmir also attended the closing ceremony of the 100th birth anniversary celebrations of the 19th Kushok Bakula Rinpoche (Buddhist spiritual guru) here.
The tunnel will cut down the time taken to cross the Zojila pass from three and a half hours to just fifteen minutes.
Zojila pass is situated at an altitude of 11,578 feet on Srinagar-Kargil-Leh National Highway and remains closed during winters due to heavy snowfall, cutting off Ladakh region from Kashmir.
The project aims at the construction of 14.15 kilomete-long two-lane bi-directional single tube tunnel.
At the ceremony here, Modi said projects worth Rs 25,000 crore would either be initiated or inaugurated today in all three regions and it showed the commitment of the central and the state governments towards the speedy development of the state.
On developmental work carried in the country after forming his government, he said 18,000 villages which did not receive power since Independence have been given electrical connectivity within 1,000 days.
There are four crore households in the country which do not have electricity even after 70 years of Independence and they will be given power connections within a year and a half, he said.