The government of India has asked its ministry of road transport and highways to prepare a detailed project report for construction of Kargil-Gurez highway in Jammu and Kashmir.
Estimated to cost Rs 11000-crore, the proposed highway will cover at least 350 kilometers of treacherous terrains and, in the long run, give a “fillip to socio-economic status” of the people living in mountainous Kargil and Gurez areas, a senior official in the J&K public works department told.
Kargil district in Ladakh region and Gurez Valley in Bandipora district remain closed during winter months due to heavy snowfall, causing immense hardships to the inhabitants.
“The total length of this new road along the border will be 350-km and it will have nine tunnels which will be constructed through mountainous areas,” the official said, adding that project will be centrally funded and the union ministry of road transport and highways will prepare a detailed project report which would be deliberated upon and discussed with the state government before its final approval.
The state government had earlier forwarded the Kargil-Gurez highway proposal to the government of India for funding.
Once connected through a highway, both Gurez and Kargil can witness a turnaround in economic activities as well as better people-to-people contact, according to another official, privy to the project.
Besides, other areas falling along the proposed highway will also be benefitted economically, he said.
While Gurez remains cut-off for more than five months during winters, the road leading to the picturesque Valley—especially the 86-km stretch from Sunerwani in Bandipora to Gurez— remains dilapidated in summers too and it takes at least four hours to cover this distance by a cab.
This road is managed by the army. In 1975, it was constructed on the orders of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. “Three places along the road including Dragbal, Zadkhusan and Kanzalwan are landslide-prone which hamper traffic movement,” said an official.
Union home minister Rajnath Singh announced in Srinagar on Tuesday that a new highway would be constructed in Jammu and Kashmir along the border from Kargil to Gurez. He was on a day-long visit to Kashmir to review the security and developmental scenario. Rajnath had said the ministry for road transport and highways (MoRTH) has been asked to prepare the detailed project report for the new highway which shall taking off at Kargil in Ladakh and culminate at Gurez in district Bandipora after traversing through Machhil, Keran and Tangdhar.