Srinagar: The Government of India is exploring the option of constructing a tunnel across Pir Panchal region for connectivity between strategically important areas of Uri and Poonch.
The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has set the ball rolling for preparation of a detailed project report for a 5.5 kilometer long tunnel across Pir Panchal region.
Before 1947, there was direct connectivity between Uri and Poonch through Haji Pir Pass. The Haji Pir pass now falls on the other side of the Line of Control.
The pass was captured by Indian forces during the 1965 War but Pakistan regained its possession as a result of the Tashkent agreement, under which forces of both the countries retreated to their earlier positions.
To begin with, the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways through has now invited a proposal from technical consultants for carrying out detailed project report, pre -construction activities and supervision for construction of highway tunnel of 5.5 km length (tentative) including approaches across Pir Panjal range between Km 75.00 and Km 80.50 on Poonch-Uri Road.
“The consultant should have expertise in carrying out similar kind of job, in similar geographical location (particularly for hill road projects),” reads a documents .The ambitious project is part of the Prime Minister’s Development Package for Jammu & Kashmir.
In the meeting chaired by the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister to review the implementation of PMDP on September 22, 2018, it was decided that the project will be undertaken by the Border Roads Organization as it is located on the Line of Control. In January 2021, UT administration requested Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari to expedite finalistion of alignment and preparation of DPR.
The tendering process for alignment finalisation and feasibility survey was initiated on April 20, 2021. The stretch was notified under Bharatmala Pariyojana on June 25, 2021. Later, the consultant submitted alignment options for the project. (KNO)