Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday inaugurated India’s longest tunnel Chenani-Nashri, on the Jammu-Srinagar highway amid high security on Sunday, which links Kashmir Valley with Jammu by an all-weather route and reduces the distance by 30 km.
The 9-km long ‘Chenani-Nashri Tunnel,’ built at the cost of ₹2,500 crore, was dedicated to the nation by the Prime Minister in Chenani in the presence of Jammu and Kashmir Governor N.N. Vohra and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.
“Kashmiri youths have two options: tourism and terrorism. For 40 years terrorism gave you nothing but bloodshed, deaths and destruction. Had you chosen tourism, the benefits today would have been phenomenal,” said Mr. Modi after the inauguration.
Speaking ahead of the inauguration, Jitendra Singh, who is the Union Minister of State in the PM’s Office said, “It is a matter of great pride for the people of Jammu and Kashmir that this great tunnel is being dedicated to the nation by none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi – the most popular PM. It is dedicated to the nation in keeping with his call for a new India.” Prime Minister Modi will also address a public rally at Battal Ballian in Udhampur district after inaugurating the tunnel. The tunnel will save fuel worth nearly Rs. 99 crores a year. “Rs. 27 lakh worth of fuel is likely to be saved per day,” Mr Singh said.
The tunnel will also reduce the travel time between Jammu and Srinagar by two hours. The distance between Chenani and Nashri will now be 10.9 kms (between two ends of the tunnel), instead of the existing 41 kms. Mr Singh called the tunnel is a game changer. “It is a revolution itself. It is a revolution to be watched and studied. It is a case study, and a wonderful creation,” he added.
He also said that the tunnel “is an alternative all weather route. It is an alternative to the highway which often closes at the time of snow and rains. It will boost trade and increase revenue in the state. It will also help boost tourism.”
The inauguration is likely to take place at 3 PM.
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The Chenani-Nashri tunnel is India’s first and the world’s sixth tunnel to have transverse ventilation system, providing fresh air to passengers. “The ventilation system is enabled by ABB drives and controlled by ABB software,” an official of the the company said. ABB is the global leader in industrial technology and operates in approximately 100 countries, including India, according to its official website.
Technologically, this is one of the most advanced road tunnels built in the country, surmounting challenges of terrain and distance, Managing Director, ABB India, Sanjeev Sharma said.
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