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Vailoo-Singhpora tunnel awaits defense clearance, land acquisition in final stages

08:26 AM Jul 30, 2023 IST | KHALID GUL
vailoo singhpora tunnel awaits defense clearance  land acquisition in final stages

Anantnag: The much-awaited 10.3-km Vailoo Singhpora Tunnel on NH-244, which got a nod from the Union government last year, is awaiting defense clearance.


“The prestigious project is awaiting defense approval and once we get it, the work on the project will start,” an official said.


He said that the defense ministry had to look into the tactical domination part of the tunnel.


The National Highway India Corporation Limited  (NHIDCL) early this year declared a joint venture of Transrail Lighting the lowest Euro-Asian Construction Corporation (EVRASCON) as a lone bidder for the construction of the Rs 3253.58 crore tunnel. JV placed a bid of Rs 2387 crore for the project.


General Manager Projects NHIDCL Raghu Nath Sharma says the land acquisition process on the approach road leading to the tunnel from both Anantnag and Kishtwar side was in final stages.


The approach road is 38.611-km in length.


“Once all the technical aspects of the construction are addressed, the work on the project would be taken up,” the GM said.


Though conceptualised four decades ago, the 140-km-long Anantnag-Kokernag-Kishtwar road was opened for Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs) only in 2009.

However, the road that would provide an alternative link to Kashmir with the outside world remains open for traffic during summer months only as heavy snowfall at several places including Sinthan Pass – situated at 12,500-feet above the sea level – shuts it during winters.

The tunnel, which would start at Ahlan in the Vailoo area of Kokernag in Anantnag would bypass a treacherous stretch connecting it with Chatroo in Kishtwar and shorten the distance between the two districts.

It would also provide an alternative to the Srinagar-Jammu National highway and help in averting frequent road accidents in Chenab valley.

The tunnel would also give a fillip to tourism in the region.

The people on either side are eager to see the project accomplished, believing that it would ease their miseries.

“The construction of the tunnel has been our dream and we are seeing it being fulfilled now,” said Mudasir Ahmad, a shopkeeper from Kishtwar.

He said that if the road becomes all weather, it would certainly ease the miseries of the people of Kishtwar, which remain inaccessible due to harsh winters.

Shohaib Ahmad from Kokernag said the tunnel would also increase inter-regional accessibility and also boost the economy of the region.

The project was cleared in February 2017 after the then State government took up the matter with the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH) but was later marred by several hiccups.

However, last year Union Minister for Surface and Road Transport Nitin Gadkari gave a go ahead to the project .

The Detailed Project Report (DPR) already stands submitted by Rodic Consultants Private Limited in a joint venture with Getnisa-Euro studios.

Greater Kashmir has been carrying a series of stories on the status of the project and its importance from the past over a decade.