From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Zoji La Pass and other himalayan passes
Mains level : Critical border infrastructures
Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways has inspected the work on Zojila and Z Morh tunnels.
- The Zojila is set to be Asia’s longest bi-directional tunnel.
- It will connect Srinagar, Dras, Kargil and Leh via a tunnel through the famous Zojila Pass.
- Located at more than 11,500 feet above sea level, the all-weather Zojila tunnel will be 14.15 km long and ensure road connectivity even during winters.
- It will make the travel on the 434-km Srinagar-Kargil-Leh Section of NH-1 free from avalanches, enhance safety and reduce the travel time from more than 3 hours to just 15 minutes.
- The speed limit inside the tunnel is likely to be the same as in the Atal tunnel – 80 kmph.
- The Z-Morh tunnel — being developed at Sonmarg — will provide it all-weather connectivity with Srinagar allowing it to remain open to tourists all year round.
- It is likely to be ready by December 2023 and is being developed at a cost of ₹2,378 crore.
Significance of these tunnels
- The project holds strategic significance as Zojila Pass is situated at an altitude of 11,578 feet on the Srinagar-Kargil-Leh National Highway and remains closed during winters due to heavy snowfall.
- At present, it is one of the most dangerous stretches in the world to drive a vehicle and this project is also geo-strategically sensitive.
Back2Basics: Major Passes in India