Srinagar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday inaugurated India’s longest tunnel, the 9-km long Chenani-Nashri tunnel on the Jammu-Srinagar highway.
"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," Union Minister of State in PMO, Jitendra Singh told reporters earlier on Sunday.
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," Singh said.
The tunnel will reduce the travel time between the two state capitals of Jammu and Srinagar by two hours. The distance from Chenani and Nashri will now be 10.9 kms (between two ends of the tunnel), instead of the existing 41 kms.
Union Minister said that this tunnel is a game changer. "It is a revolution itself. It is a revolution to be watched and studied. It is a case study itself. It is a wonderful creation," he added.
"The connectivity through this tunnel will decrease the time of journey by two hours. It is an alternative all weather route. It is an alternative to the highway which is closed at the time of snow and rains. It will boost trade and increase revenue in the state. It will also help boost tourism," Singh added.
Modi will also address a public rally at Battal Ballian in Udhampur district after inaugurating the tunnel.
But the PM’s visit to Kashmir was not without opposition. Normal life was affected in Kashmir Valley on Sunday due to strike called by separatist groups against Modi’s to the state for inauguration of the tunnel.
Most of the shops, business establishments and fuel stations were shut in Srinagar - the summer capital of the state, officials said.
However, they said, the weekly flea market, locally known as Sunday market, was open as many vendors had set up their stalls along TRC Chowk-Batamaloo axis through Lal Chowk.
The officials said most of the public transport was off the roads, while private cars, cabs and auto-rickshaws were seen plying normally in many areas of the city here....