Tunnel of Hope

India's longest tunnel connecting Chenani and Nashri in Jammu-Kashmir will be opened for traffic later this month. Touted as the “Tunnel of Hope“ in Kashmir, the structure ensuring all-weather connectivity will reduce the distance between Jammu and Kashmir by 38 km.

Work for the 9.2 km tunnel started in May 2011 and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had laid the foundation stone. It was originally scheduled for completion by August last year.

The 8.45 km Quazigund-Banihal tunnel is scheduled for completion by March 2018.

The Chennai-Nashri connectivity will be a single tunnel with 9.3 metre width and an escape tunnel for emergency while Quazigund-Banihal stretch will have twin tubes with a width of seven metres each.

At present, it takes about 10-11 hours to go from one city to the other under normal weather conditions. The two tunnels will also end traffic jam on NH-1A due to heavy snowfall during winters and landslides in monsoons.

While the all-weather tunnels will help traders transport fruits produced from this region to other parts of the country, it will also ensure seamless supply of essential items to the valley even during winter and rainy season. This will also boost food processing industry in the region and generate jobs for locals.

At present, between October and January, Kashmir supplies at least 200 truckloads of apple every day to the rest of the country. The supply of pomegranates and other fruits is also significant from this region. It is widely believed that poor connectivity of Kashmir with the rest of the country has been a major impediment in the growth of the food processing industry in the state.

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