IRB to build southeast Asia’s longest road tunnel

Mumbai, Jan 4 (IANS) The IRB Infrastructure Developers Ltd. will construct southeast Asia’s longest tunnel at Zozi La, spanning 14.08 km, in Jammu and Kashmir, an official said here on Monday.

It has been issued a letter of intent to construct the tunnel at a cost of Rs.10,050 crore, making it the country’s biggest national highway project in terms of project cost, on a design, build, finance, operate, and transfer (DBFOT) basis, within seven years.

The project will include approaches on NH-1 (Srinagar-Sonmarg-Gumri Road), and provide an all-weather connectivity to the Leh-Ladakh region which remains cut-off from the rest of the world during winters.

IRB Infrastructure chairman-cum-managing director Virendra Mhaiskar said that the project of ‘national importance’ has a strategic and socio-economic importance as it will be will provide much-needed all-weather connectivity between Jammu and Kashmir and Leh-Ladakh which remains cut-off during winter to due to heavy snowfall.

“The project involves constructing the 14.08 tunnel, 10.80 km approach roads, with three vertical ventilation shafts, snow gallery of 700 metres and avalance protection measures,” Mhaiskar said.

Hoping to complete the project within the stipulated time-frame (7 years) in the tough Himalayan terrain, he said the concession period for the project is 22 years.

Besides, the company would receive semi-annual annuity of Rs.981 crore from the ministry of highways, commencing after completion of construction of the project, twice every year till the end of the concession period.

With this prestigious project, IRB now expands its base to the ninth state in the country and its book increases to Rs.16,430 crore, including 20 Road BOT project, including 14 which are already under operation.

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