New Delhi, Oct 20 (IANS) India plans to build 10 tunnels, totalling more than 100 kilometres in length, in high-altitude areas of the Ladakh and Kashmir regions for smooth movement of the military throughout the year.
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has proposed eight tunnels to enhance all-weather connectivity to Ladakh and Kashmir, and to forward areas in both regions.
“A few tunnels would be at the 17,000 feet level, to connectg forward locations,” a source said.
Among those planned is the seven km Khardung La Tunnel, connecting Leh to the Nubra Valley, a strategically important area of Ladakh bordering both China and Pakistan. Another eight km tunnel, at 17,580 feet level, is planned to connect Karu to Tangste in Ladakh, and will ensure all weather movement to areas close to the Pangong Lake.
For year-round connectivity to Ladakh, another tunnel on the Nimmu-Darcha-Padam Road, through the Shnku La pass, is in the pipeline. The planned seven km tunnel will be at a height of 16,703 feet.
The construction of a 14 km tunnel has started at the over 11,500 feet Zojila Pass to keep Srinagar connected with Kargil, Dras and Leh.
Another proposed tunnel, at 17,800 feet, will provide alternate connectivity to Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) and Depsang Plains in eastern Ladakh. The around 10-km-long tunnel is needed at Saser La to ensure the 100 km alternate route to DBO can be used through the year.
DBO and Depsang are areas where there has been a huge build-up amid the current tensions with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army that started early May.
With the tunnel, the 25 km distance between Saser-Brengasa to Murgo, where work has started and 6-7 km road formation has taken place, will be reduced to 10 km.
The other tunnels planned on the Manali-Leh highway are a 13.7 km tunnel at the 16,000 feet Baralacha Pass on the Manali-Sarchu road, a 14.7 km tunnel at 16,000 feet level Lachung Pass and a 7.32 km tunnel at the 17,480 feet Tanglang Pass.
Meanwhile, a 18-km-long tunnel at the 11,672 feet high Razdan Pass is required for connectivity to Kashmir’s Gurez, and a 6 km tunnel at Sadhna Pass at a height of 10,269 feet is in the pipeline to ensure all weather connectivity to Tangdhar.