As the demand for construction of tunnels for frontier areas of Karnah and Gurez in northern Kashmir is gaining momentum, J&K is hoping to get approval from Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH) for the key road projects.
The State Government had approached the Ministry of Defenceon July 13 last year with a request to "grant highest priority to sanctioningof these tunnels," documents accessed by Greater Kashmir have revealed.
The prefeasibility studies of these tunnels were carried outby Border Roads Organisation (BRO), which comes under the administrativecontrol of the Ministry.
However, on October 10 last year the Defence Ministrycommunicated to the State Government that these projects were "not immediateoperational priority" and, therefore, not planned to be taken up by the BRO inimmediate future.
It also suggested to the State Government that constructionof the tunnels, if deemed necessary, may be taken up with Ministry of RoadTransport and Highways (MORTH).
Subsequently, the State sent the proposal to MORTH forsanctioning these projects on February 14 this year.
Since then the J&K Government is awaiting approval tothese projects from the ministry, which has already given nod to several tunnelprojects in the State.
When contacted, commissioner secretary Roads & BuildingsDepartment Khursheed Ahmad Shah said the State Government was "vigorously"pursuing the proposals with the Centre.
"We are committed to ensure round-the-year connectivity tothe areas that remain cut-off during winters. We are looking at how we can getfunding for construction of these tunnels," he said. The construction oftunnels at Razdan pass and Sadhana top would ensure round-the-year connectivityto Gurez and Karnah, which remain cut-off from outer world during winters owingto heavy snowfall on roads leading to the areas.
The State Government requires Rs 7500 crore to undertakeconstruction of these two tunnels.