Finally, light at end of Vailoo-Singhpora tunnel

NHIDC invites bids for DPR; Construction to start soon, says top official

In a significant development, the Government of India has set in motion the process for construction of Vailoo-Singhpora tunnel on Anantnag-Kishtwar road.

The National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDC) has invited bids for preparation of Detailed Project Report and providing pre-consultancy activities for construction of the 10-km-long tunnel.

Though conceptualized four decades ago, the 140-km-long Anantnag-Kokernag-Kishtwar road was opened for light vehicles 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 3797-meter above sea level—shuts it during winters.

The proposal for the tunnel, estimated at Rs 400 crore, was actually mooted in 2010 and the project was initially to be executed in Public-Private-Partnership mode with J&K Bank as the funding agency.

The Corporation DGM for J&K, Ashok Kumar Jha, said once the DPR is finalized, they would invite tenders for construction of the tunnel. “The project is fully funded by Union Ministry for Road Transport & Highways. The work will start soon,” he said.

The tunnel which would start at Ahlan in Vialoo area of Kokernag would bypass treacherous stretch on road that remains buried under snow during winter to connect with Chatroo in Kishtwar.

The NHIDC, a Government of India company, has also invited bids for preparation of 4.5 kilometer Sudhmahadev-Dranga tunnel in Jammu and its approach roads on Chenani-Sudhmahadev Goha road portion.