SRINAGAR: Ladakh residents have finally moved the High Court seeking directions for the construction of Zojila tunnel as successive governments since 1960 promised the people of the region for it but did nothing. The court has issued notices on Wednesday to both the state and Central governments along with National Highway Development Corporation to submit a status report on construction of the Zojila tunnel.
Due to the lack of the tunnel, Ladakh region remains cut off for more than seven months starting from October-November to May every year. Due to this blockade, the people of Kargil and Leh face a lot of hardships and they feel that even in 2019, it would be a washout of another working season for the start of work on this important lifeline to this region.
The petition is seeking directions from the court to the government to complete the tunnel construction on priority and clear all the documentary works before April so that during the short season of summers, the work starts. Due to heavy snowfall, Zojila tunnel remains closed as a matter of routine as Sonamarg and adjacent areas remain under the heavy snow for more than six months.
The High Court has asked the respondents to give their responses positively by 10 April. The petitioner, who is from Ladakh, has said that the tunnel project should be given to two or more companies so that the work is completed as fast as possible. He has suggested that the government should award contracts from both sides of the tunnel so that the work starts simultaneously from Drass, Ladakh and Sonamarg side.