Srinagar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday inaugurated the Chenani-Nashri tunnel on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, the longest in India.
The 10.9-km long tunnel will reduce the time taken to travel between Jammu and Srinagar by shortening the distance between Chenani-Nashri from the existing 41 kms to 10.9 kms and is likely to save fuel worth nearly Rs 99 crores a year. The tunnel in Udhampur district, built with new Austrian tunnel technology, has a series of smart safety features — all functioning through a single software.
After the inauguration ceremony, the prime minister is scheduled to address a public rally in Udhampur’s Battal Ballian village.
Union Minister Jitendra Singh had earlier said that the tunnel “is a game changer.” “The connectivity through this tunnel will decrease the time of journey by two hours. It is an alternative all weather route. It is an alternative to the highway which is closed at the time of snow and rains. It will boost trade and increase revenue in the state. It will also help boost tourism,” Singh said.
Meanwhile, normal life was affected in Kashmir Valley due to strike called by separatist groups against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the state for inauguration of Chenani-Nashri tunnel. Most of the shops, business establishments and fuel stations were shut in Srinagar – the summer capital of the state, officials said. The officials said most of the public transport was off the roads, while private cars, cabs and auto-rickshaws were seen plying normally in many areas of the city here.