Caught in delay
To make Ladakh region connected with the rest of the world is still a pipe dream as the government is going to go for re-tendering process as one of the contractors has already left the Zojila tunnel construction. This has happened many times in the past, as the Central Govenrment has not been keen to start construction work on Zojila tunnel. The basic problem is the short time period available for the working season and this is the main problem for the completion of work on time. Already there are voices from Ladakh region who say that Central government should award this work to more contractors in patches so that it is completed without any further delay.
A petitioner from Ladakh has gone to State High Court to get the directions on the authorities for the start of work on this tunnel. State High Court has asked the respondents to give their response by April 10, 2019 positively. The petitioner who is from Ladakh has sought Court intervention for the speedy work on Zojila tunnel and has said that the tunnel project should be given to two or more companies so that the work is completed as fast as possible. The petitioner has suggested that the government should award contracts from both sides of the tunnel so that the work starts simultaneously from Drass, Ladakh and from Sonamarg side.
It is in place to mention that the survey of Zojila tunnel and other ground level process was initiated by the Central Government in the year 2013 and due to the difficulty and terrain of Zojila, the government was forced to six times ask for fresh tenders for the completion of this project. The tendering process has been now restarted by the Central Government. The last project was terminated on 18th of January 2019 by the competent authority. The last time Prime Minister Narindra Modi laid the foundation of the Zojila tunnel project on May 19, 2018.
Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has gone for fresh tenders for the construction of 14.31-Km tunnel project, the petitioner and the people of Ladakh have fresh doubts that the new tendering process will be completed in few months and it would be losing an entire working season for the start of the work on this tunnel.