After the construction of the twin-tube tunnel between Qazigund and Banihal, the old Jawahar Tunnel on the Kashmir Highway became obsolete. It wasn’t being used and the place would have been dilapidated. Therefore, authorities have decided to renovate the old tunnel and transform it into a new tourist attraction. This will ensure that revenue is generated from the place and the local economy will be supported. Here is everything you need to know about this particular project.
Jawahar Tunnel On Kashmir Highway To Be Transformed
After the inauguration of the twin-tube tunnel between Banihal and Qazigund on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, authorities have decided to renovate and transform the old Jawahar tunnel on the highway as a new tourist destination.
— RAJESH PATIAL (@5d12bbdf91964aa) November 3, 2023
In April 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the new Qazigund-Banihal Navyug Tunnel. It stretches across 8.45 kilometres and cost more than ₹3,100 crores to construct. It has many state-of-the-art features including but not limited to an exhaust system and the twin tubes. These features make it a perfect roadway for all weather.
Owing to the new tunnel, the old Jawahar tunnel became obsolete. To prevent the space from falling into disuse and becoming dilapidated, the authorities have decided to transform the tunnel into a brand-new tourist attraction. The Border Roads Organisation or the BRO has floated a tender for the construction of the same.
According to an official from the BRO, the refurbishment will emphasise safety and surveillance, boosting security and revamping the transport infrastructure inside the tunnel. The old tunnel was designed to carry around 150 vehicles every day in both directions. However, after almost 50 years, the number of vehicles has increased to around 7,000 per day.
About The Old Banihal Tunnel
J&K: Jawahar Tunnel on NH44 set to transform into key tourist destinationhttps://t.co/Nefc3cUmi7
— All India Radio News (@airnewsalerts) October 27, 2023
The old Jawahar tunnel, which is also known as Banihal Tunnel is now being refurbished. The tunnel is located on the Kashmir Highway which is also known as Srinagar-Jammu National Highway. It is situated below the Banihal Pass in the Pir Panjal mountain range. It was used as a major avenue of road connection.
– In 1956, a trail from Jammu to Srinagar passed this mountain pass, and Jawahar Tunnel was built beneath it.
– This pass is no longer valid as a result.
— Basant Kumar Maharana (@Basant_7488) October 26, 2023
The tunnel stretches across 2.85 kilometres and was constructed between 1954 and 1956. It was finally completed on December 22, 1956, and was named after the first prime minister of the country, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. It is situated at an elevation of 2,194 metres in Jammu and Kashmir. The last time the tunnel was refurbished was during the year 1997.
— JK Fact (@JnKFact) October 12, 2023
Despite the construction of the new tunnel, according to an article recently published by the Deccan Herald, the old tunnel is used by LPG and other fuel-laden trucks. Hence, the renovation is all the more incumbent. In 2021, it was decided to revamp the tunnel and a tender worth ₹80 crore was awarded for it. However, the contractor failed to do the work.
Do you think turning it into a tourist destination is an effective use of this space that is now out of use? Let us know in the comments below!
Cover Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons
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