Thursday, June 13, 2024

Process to build tunnels across Khardung La, three other passes in Ladakh set in motion

Commissioner secretary, PWD, Ladakh administration, Ajeet Kumar Sahu on Thursday said consultants have been hired to prepare detailed project reports of tunnels across Khardung La, Fotu La, Namika La, and Key La passes in the region.

He reviewed the status of survey and feasibility study conducted by RITES, who have been assigned to prepare DPRs of these tunnels.

“The construction of these tunnels will lead to faster, safer, and smoother movement of internal traffic resulting in the all-around economic development of Ladakh,” said Sahu.

The proposed 5.5km Khardung La tunnel is expected to shorten the travel time by an hour from Leh to Nubra valley.

“This will also help increase the safety of travellers due to bypassing of landslide and avalanche-prone areas. Besides, it would also protect the Khardung glacier, which is a major source of water for Leh town, from receding due to the increase in heat emitted by automotive vehicular movement,” he added.

The consultant agency for the project shared that the proposed tunnels at Fotu La, also known as Fatu La, and Namika La passes will reduce the travel distance from Kargil to Leh by around an hour.

The expected increase of traffic on this road in winter after the opening of the Zojila tunnel also necessitates the construction of these tunnels, Sahu said.

RITES (Rail India Technical and Economic Service Limited) said that preliminary survey and testing on all locations have been done and certain options worked out on the tunnel alignments.

Those are being examined technically as well as through a cost-benefit analysis, it added.

Some pending testing would be done in the next working season to clearly assess the geological formation of these passes, it further said.

Sahu has asked RITES to send the initial report before December 31 so that required approvals are obtained in advance.

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