The National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL) has awarded APCO Amarnathji Tunnelway the tender to Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) the US $315m Z-Morh Tunnel project. The project was earlier allotted to Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS), but the contractor abandoned it after IL&FS Group faced financial crisis.
Z-Morh Tunnel project
Z-Morh Tunnel is a road tunnel project and is the first step toward ensuring all-weather connectivity between Srinagar and Kargil in Ladakh region of India. The tunnel gets its name from its Z formation between Sonamarg and Gagangir.
The 6.5 km long road tunnel is being constructed near Gagangir or Gagangair in Ganderbal district of the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. It has a high strategic importance for India. The tunnel would avoid the regions of snowfall and avalanches. Along with Zoji-la Tunnel (which is 22 km from Z-Morh tunnel towards Leh), the Z-Morh tunnel will ensure year-long road connectivity between Srinagar and Kargil which currently remains closed for about seven months due to snow.
The tunnel will also benefit social and economic development of region apart from boosting the tourism in Sonmarg region as the area witnesses heavy snowfall during winters.
Once all tunnels are put in place, the time to drive from Srinagar to Leh will be reduced and will not require overnight halt at Kargil. The entire stretch will become motorable throughout the year. The project is expected to be complete in three and a half years.