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Sonmarg: NHIDCL didn’t throw Z-Morh Tunnel open on trial basis

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Kashmir News Trust #KNT

Much against the wishes of the administration, the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) didn’t open the Z-Morh Tunnel on a trial basis on Tuesday in wake of several safety technical parameters.

Earlier, District Development Commissioner Ganderbal Mr. Shyambir had claimed that the tourist resort Sonmarg will remain open in winter and the Z-Morh Tunnel will also be opened on a trial basis from November 15 so that tourists can enjoy the snowy mountains of Sonmarg.

The National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) started work on a 6.5-kilometer-long Z-Morh Tunnel in 2015 and its deadline expired in 2021. The Tunnel starts from Gagangeer and culminates in Shutkadi, thus bypassing landslide-prone areas including Hung Point, Haji Kabar, and Kachhar Mode.

General Manager NHIDCL, Mr Vijay Pandey while talking to news agency Kashmir News Trust said that 20% of work on the Tunnel is still incomplete and they didn’t throw it open today though the administration wanted them to keep it open.

“The condition of the Tunnel is not good yet but we can allow some limited vehicular movement if the administration persists and that too in case the landslide-prone area Hung Point is closed,” Pandey said.

He said there are some technical parameters and technically it is not possible to throw the tunnel open for the traffic at this point of time. “There are always some checks and balances. The Tunnel Safety team has already informed us that it is not that much safe and so don’t throw it open,” he added.

The current situation of the Tunnel will definitely leave the Sonmarg Hoteliers disappointed who had already offered a 30% discount to the visitors for the visit to Sonmarg during winter.

Despite the Government’s assurance of keeping the Sonmarg tourist destination open during winter, the hoteliers have already been showing reluctance in taking take advance bookings from tourists.

General Manager NHIDCL, Mr Vijay Pandey said that the said Tunnel will be completed by December 2023. [KNT]

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